Featured & New Tasting Notes
Had a mug of this today from a sampler packet I recently got. It’s the second time I’m sampled it. It claims to be a 2008 winner of some award so I figured it must be good. It is a strong blend as they claim. I’m not sure if I put too much leaf into my brew but it was strong, a bit too strong for my liking. Given it has Assam as one of the primary leaf varietals I steeped it 2:15 minutes and it still came out with quite a bit of astringency. It’s got a interesting malty and earthy flavor that I’m thinking their suggestion for adding milk might be in order. I also think rock sugar or at least raw sugar or Turbinado sugar might enhance this further. It was a bold wake up tea and while not a favorite I will give it some more tries making sure I measure it more carefully next time and try it with milk and sugar.
So I just returned from the gym and a hard core workout that was fueled by some dark Yorkshire Harrogate which I am so in love with. But I needed a green soft tea for my palette and I chose this one because I’m running out of greens and its only 1 of 2 I have left. Genuis I know. I’m very pleased…I let the brew cool more which is what I’ve been working on lately after continuous attempts at sipping it hot and not getting a burnt tongue. Well my attempts were futile to say the least! So now I’m detecting so many different notes with this tea that I’m finally letting roll around my mouth and REALLY taste for a change. WOW! DUH. I thought I just liked everything hot hot hot, but I’ll leave that to The Cure for now. There is such sweetness apparent now! I taste a sugar cookie like taste with this tea and its really good! Subtle and sweet and just plain good. I’ve taken it thru 2 steeps already with great results and am hoping for a 3rd. Yum…just a delicate sweetness of a biscuit and honey…good times. Third times a charm right? Let me go see..
Finally. This is the first non-bag, non-Bigelow tea I’ve ever tried. It was wonderful! It’s the first tea I had my family try, using the Adagio UtiliTEA Kettle I bought them for Christmas, and I just might have converted these coffee-and-soda-drinkers to a healthier lifestyle. Thank you, Adagio, for potentially extending the lives of my loved ones.
Because of my incredibly satisfying first foray into non-bag tea, I am giving this tea the highest rating possible. Maybe one day I will look back at this tea and scoff at my naivete, with the disdain of a runway model toward her high school yearbook photos, but until that day, ignorance is bliss.
I love this white tea. Very light and crisp, but naturally sweet. This tea is relaxing and reminds me of a forest after a late spring frost. I can only appreciate that comparison having grown up around the woods. I love Samovar’s Osmanthus Silver Needle which gives me similar thoughts, but this white tea is lovely beyond words. Something very sweet, subtle, and even nutty about this one.
The tea is exactly as it claims to be: chocolate. This is probably the most chocolate of any tea I’ve had. It’s very good. It has a slightly odd perfumed fragrance as well, which I assume is supposed to be the “cream” flavor. It’s a good tea but somewhat monochromatic. If what you want is just this side of hot chocolate, this is a good place to go.
I’m finding that I really love the way teas with golden tips look. The black and gold just look so amazing and beautiful together… it really makes the experience all the more worthwhile.
Anyway, when I opened this little packet by GM this morning, I was hit with a lot of different and complex yummy notes. Earthy, fruity, dark, complex. Even some sweetness thrown in there for good measure.
The wiry leaves are very pretty; the whole thing just looks high-quality. So I steeped up a teaspoon of this in the IngenuiTEA. The leaves didn’t expand all that much, but they did unfurl a bit, and the resulting cup was a deep copper. Not as dark as some Irish Breakfasts I’ve seen, but still fairly dark.
On first sip I was in happyland. There’s actually a lot of complexity in this cup. It’s fairly smooth at the forefront of the sip, with lots of notes of fruit, and a slight subtle sweetness. As you swallow, a subtle maltiness presents itself, with just a bit of astringency. There’s a lot of the earthy flavors that are present in most blacks. I have no idea what prunes taste like, so I couldn’t find that in my tea. But I could see the cherry, and even perhaps some honey as an aftertaste. There is a mild sweet component to this tea, which I liked. It’s a fairly complex and subtle black by itself, so I don’t think this is one IB that you’d want to put milk into immediately.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more of a malty “kick” that I associate strongly with a good Irish Breakfast, but the interesting flavors that kept peeking out of this cup more than made up for that lack. It tastes like it’s high quality, and I think it could function on two levels: as a daily drinker, and as a fun, tasting journey as you try to nail all of those components that are highlighted in each sip.
When I open the bag I have to make sure that I’m not mistaken and have an actual pina colada drink under my nose. Well not really, but you get what I mean. The scent is EXACTLY like the drink IMO.
The taste is quite realistic aswell. I’m quite distinctly picking up both the pinapple and the coconut flavoures, though it could perhaps use a touch of creaminess. I’m not picking up much of the honeybush right now except for a vague herbal background flavour, but then, I used the minimum recommended steeping time listed on the package, so there’s room for experimentation. I’d also love to try this tea with honey to see what that does to it.
Lychees – yeah. Lychees! I have a love/hate relationship with them. I want to love them but have had mixed experiences with them. I had a raw-stand alone Lychee once and it tasted like paint thinner.
Anyhow…this tea is Nutty and Lychee-esque. Not much Black tea flavor. Not too sure about it…
It does smell fruity but it also tastes a little like glue…it’s that darned Lychee I tell you!
I’ll tinker with this one again some day…
This is one that will probably grow on me. After loathing licorice for most of my life, I’ve become a huge fan of it in the last year or two – not the sweet licorice sticks, but actual licorice root. This tea has a lot of that, as well as cinnamon bark and Indian black tea. The result is much creamier than I expected.
I can taste a slight bite from the cinnamon, but mostly this tastes like a creamy version of a licorice herbal tea that I have (and love). I wish there was a bit more of that refreshing licorice taste, but this is good nonetheless.
This is my knockout tea for night-time. When I can’t sleep, I just brew a pot up and by the time I’ve finished my first mug I’m groggy and off to bed.
It’s got a strong herbal flavor; I can really taste the mint and the citrusy lemon but beyond that the flavors all blend together. (That and I’ve never tasted most of the ingredients individually so I couldn’t tell you what they taste like, anyway.)
It’s called ‘Psychic’ because this tisane is supposed to open your mind to higher knowledge, or something, but it’s not an effect I’ve noticed. It gives me very lucid, vivid dreams though. That’s pretty cool.
Well, this one is actually really interesting, and I’m sitting here puzzled, scratching my head.
When I opened up the Golden Moon packet, it instantly smelled of gunpowder. That earthy, smokey, Rome-burning smell that I absolutely adore. I believe that Temple of Heaven is a higher grade of gunpowder, and let me tell you, the dry leaf was absolutely beautiful. Tiny little blue-green pearls. Way tinier than Adagio’s, and smooth and silky to the touch. So pretty!
So I dumped a level teaspoon into my IngenuiTEA and watched as the fireworks happen. This one’s pretty bombastic in the pot. It start with little bubbles, and then, within a matter of seconds after the hot water hitting the leaves, they start unfurling and writhing and wriggling like they’re dirty dancing.
In the cup, this one’s a honey hue, with a smell that can only be described as smokey gunpowder. So I lift my mouth to the cup and.. hrm. The smoke on this one is definitely lighter than Adagio’s blend. It actually is more seamlessly “one” with the tea flavors than a simple overlay of flavor. And while I enjoy that aspect of it, I wanted the smoke to come out a bit more assertive.
Then the oddity began. I’m picking up that mineral-like flavor and mouthfeel that I got from Rishi’s Jade Fire! The astringency is leaving my mouth dry, and there’s almost a briny component that I didn’t expect. As the cup cooled down, this element faded into the background (although there was still a high component of astringency), and the delicate smoke flavors became the prime focus. There’s a sweet green aftertaste that is really pleasant, but it’s almost a bit too mild.
In fact, I think overall the cup is too delicate for my tastes, and it falls into this bizarre crack. Gunpowder really isn’t a delicate flavor, so it’s strange to have it come across as a wisp of smoke instead of a cloud. Add to that the mineral/brine/weird taste that came with Rishi’s Jade Fire (which is another rolled tea, by the way, but it doesn’t have the smoke of a gunpowder) and you have me perplexed. It’s like if Adagio’s Gunpowder and Rishi’s Jade Fire decided to have a baby and the genetics got mixed up along the way.
Once again, another great tea morning with Tavalon’s Lemon Green. . . . the lemon grass is so faint in this tea; just the right amount to NOT overpower the tea with tang.
If you’re a white tea lover, I would suggest this tea. . . the green tea they use in this is so light. . .it tastes like white tea to me. . .also noticed that even if you put in more tea leaves than you’re supposed to, the taste still remains the same (have had this tea on numerous occasions to happen to realize this). It’s a super light tea for its rich-golden liquor.
My order of the Yorkshire Harrogate finally arrived! This morning is my first cup since that wonderful afternoon at the High Tea Cottage a couple of Friday’s ago. I would rate this as a nicely robust morning tea, although the highest caffeine bump I’ve received so far is by the Earl Grey himself from Taylors of Harrogate. Frankly I don’t feel like having my way with the Earl in the morning. ;)
Expect a nice bold English Breakfast flavor (finally what I had been searching for to replace my other gifted tea). Round out the blend with milk and sugar for a smooth start to your day. This tea holds up well to bold food flavors.
This tea is broken orange pekoe – a blend of Assam, Kenyan, and China black teas. I’m still trying to taste the Kenyan tea, I haven’t had a chance to try it on it’s own to see how it adds to the blend, but know instinctively it’s part of what makes up the tasty breakfast blend that I prefer. I can taste the china and assam quite evenly, so assume the kenyan has an equal or slightly lesser role to the blend. Overall the tea flavor rolls nicely across the tongue without any bitterness – provided your steep time is not overly long. I prefer 2 heaping teaspoons per 1 1/2 – 2 cups of boiling water. Steeping time on this was about 3-4 min, as I was eyeing the copper color and pulled out the tea the minute I noticed the color deepen to a dark coppery abyss. I’m upping my rating to a 100 as far as this English Breakfast blend is concerned for me personally. I’ve tried so many to great disappointment. Only to realize the unique blend I was searching for was china, kenyan, and assam. You would be surprised how many breakfast blends are all over the map with the blends of black tea they use. Just buying something that says “Breakfast Blend” is not a guarantee of anything anymore, and most packages will not specifically list what blend of black teas they use. So if you care about your breakfast blend that much, it pays to figure out exactly what about the blend appeals to your pallet and take note. Here’s to you wonderful tea drinkers, my relatable comrades. May our lives all be made richer in the exploring and sharing of all divine things tea. :)
Today I went through my “cupboard” to see what I had at work that I hadn’t logged yet, and settled on this one.
(taken with Splenda)
This tea is a dark gorgeous ruby red. The taste is mostly of the tart hibiscus, so I do have to be in the right mood for this tea. It’s dark and mysterious and hard to describe the back notes… I’m not sure what rose hips and cassius taste like, so that may be why I’m struggling to seperate the flavors out.
But, overall, when I’m in the right mood for it, it’s a fantastic tea.
The husband left absurdly early today, necessitating separate tea brewing for the two of us. Usually I made a big pot of one tea and split it but today I went ahead and made two different types of tea so that I could experiment a little without the potential of torturing the husband (and so that my tea wouldn’t be room temperature by the time I left the house).
The experiment that I wanted to try was using one of my ‘teacup teas’ and see how they did as ‘travel tumbler’ teas. To me, teas that I enjoy in a teacup – which allows me to smell the tea as I drink it – tend to fall a little short when put in a travel tumbler with a lid. Keemuns are especially unhappy for me in something that prevents smelling the tea while I sip – changes the entire taste. So most of the time for my tumbler, I have to go for flavored teas (which, frankly, I am getting a little tired of) or a breakfast blend, English-style. English-style because the addition of milk and sugar makes the experience more forgiving if the tea gets too bitter sitting in my tumbler for my 40+ minute drive to work.
So today I wanted to try a smoother black tea ‘teacup tea’ that would hopefully not require sugar or milk and still be a pleasant drinking experience. So I grabbed this and crossed my fingers.
It still had that Assam-turning-into-Yunnan-as-it-cools front flavor and it still had a nice, bright Darjeeling end taste. So that’s good. There was no bitterness, even at the end of my 12oz, though the closer I got to the bottom of the tumbler, the more it moved from a Darjeeling ‘bright’ to a Darjeeling ‘tart’. The tea and I never entered Tartness-Land, but we got close enough to see the border guards in the distance. If I had done a 5 minute brew, I imagine we would have gotten our passport stamped if not seen some of the local sites.
So overall, the basics of what made this tea interesting were still there. Starchy front taste when hot, smoothing out as it cooled just a bit and turning earthy. And then, if I took a big swallow, the earthy would throw out some strong cocoa notes. And always finishing with the bright, citrus-or-muscadine end that always screams ‘DARJEELING!’ to me. But even though all the pieces were there, it just wasn’t as… happy as it was out of a cup where I could smell the lovely scents as I drank. Not a huge difference but if this was the first time I had had this tea, I would have given it a lower rating (probably somewhere in the low or mid 70s). But as it is, I’ll leave the rating where it is and just consider this tea a teacup tea that can be put in a tumbler if needed.
I’m drinking a lot of of this lately, so I’m not sure what new I can add to this tasting note.
So, instead, I’ll tell you what I’m paring this with today. :) Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal. That’s right, I run downstairs to our Starbucks, get oatmeal, then come back to my office to make a good cup of tea. I always thought the oatmeal was misnamed. I mean, yeah, it was Starbucks, and yeah, it’s oatmeal… but perfect? Not so much. That was before I learned that you can get all three toppings (brown sugar, dried fruits, and nuts) for the same price. Now, it really is perfect, and I totally get the name.
The nuts/cranberries/brown sugar feels very much like the holidays, to me, too. Which makes it pair exceptionally well with the Holiday Tea. :)