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13 Tasting Notes

61
drank Vanilla Black by Rishi Tea
13 tasting notes

A refreshing change from artificially flavored black teas. The vanilla, which predominates, is authentic and creamy. I initially couldn’t taste the tea at all through it, although the tea flavor came out and balanced more at around 100°F. A four minute brew just starts to get astringent.

Overall, too mild for my taste.

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

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87
drank Masala Chai by Rishi Tea
13 tasting notes

Yummo! I don’t usually do tea with milk, but I received a tin of this as a gift. Brewed according to the directions, with the exception of reducing the sugar to 1T. With 1c whole milk + 1c water, it was perfectly spicy, delicious, and rich. 1c 1% milk + 1c water tasted thin and the pepper came through too strongly. Haven’t tried any intermediates yet.

A second infusion (with the addition of another teaspoon of leaf and 1-2 extra minutes) was decent but didn’t hit the spot like the first.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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86

A definite staple. Beautifully balanced and not at all bitter. I always wish I could talk in Captain Picard’s voice when I drink this.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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52

My first pu-erh. Yes, it tastes and smells exactly like sticky rice, at least on the first infusion. A fun novelty experience, but I wouldn’t buy more (only got a sample).

1st infusion (45 sec): Tastes just like sweet sticky rice, with a touch of greenness at the end.

2nd infusion (45 sec): Oops, slightly bitter — the pu-erh cake had a chance to loosen up more, and is infusing faster. The rice flavor is still there, but it’s much more grassy and earthy now.

3rd infusion (40 sec): Too earthy for me. Tastes like the smell of fresh, clean dirt. Guess pu-erh isn’t my thing.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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44
drank Zealong Pure by Chicago Tea Garden
13 tasting notes

Unfortunately, I don’t like grassy teas…not sure why I decided to sample this. Not my thing.

1st infusion: Sweet, vegetal, extremely buttery (though not smooth like CTG’s amazing TGY), and a little reminiscent of…soup? There’s an extremely clean, bright, sort of filtered-water quality to it that seems to go up your nose like pool water.

2nd infusion: A roasty, nutty flavor came out in this steep.

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98

You know how teas never live up to their smell? This one exceeds it. Imagine drinking the smell of your favorite perfume. (Not your grandmother’s.)

1st infusion: OMG. The mouthfeel is ridiculously, unbelievably silky smooth. Floral, sweetly vegetal, buttery, maybe with a hint of jasmine? The flavor is somehow both delicate and strong. I don’t usually notice color, but it’s a gorgeous sort of yellowy jade hue.

2nd infusion: The vegetal flavor is pushing back the perfumey florals a bit. Still sweet and buttery smooth.

3rd infusion: Getting more vegetal than I’d like, and starting to weaken. It’s rich and buttery enough, not sencha-grassy, that I don’t really care.

Brew with extreme love and care. The second time I made it, I didn’t jump through all the extra hoops that CTG suggests, and it came out disappointing. Seriously though, best tea experience I’ve ever had. Love CTG’s sample program.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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72
drank Jasmine #5 by Adagio Teas
13 tasting notes

Awesome staple at a really reasonable price. The jasmine completely overwhelms the oolong, but it’s delicious and smells great, so whatever. Way cheaper than Adagio’s more balanced and delicate jasmine#12. Multiple infusions are not bad.

Tastes best after cooling down a bit. It also makes a great iced tea. Be careful not to overbrew — I’ve let it go over by a couple minutes before and it acquired this weird, bitter, rubbery taste.

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

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52
drank Casablanca Twist by Adagio Teas
13 tasting notes

This is the one tea I’ve ever thought benefited noticeably from a little sugar. I just use a half teaspoon for a 24oz teapot, and it really brings out the unique flavor of the darjeeling-mint blend, which is otherwise murky if you drink it piping hot. (With the exception of Casablanca Twist, I’m a purist when it comes to caffeinated beverages — no cream, no sugar, “coffee should be black as hell and strong as death”, and all that. So adjust your dosage accordingly.)

I got this as a sample, and although it’s decent, it doesn’t have enough of an edge over plain peppermint tea to make the inflated price (~2x more) worth it for me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Black Dragon Pearls by Adagio Teas
13 tasting notes

This stuff rocks. I treat myself to it when I want something robust but I’m not quite in the mood for coffee and its epic dehydrating powers.

It’s most interesting at 4.5 minutes, 2 pearls per 8oz. The cocoa notes are really there — no finely-tuned connoisseur bullshit. A bit astringent, very full-bodied, and ultra satisfying. There’s maltiness there, but it isn’t dominant. When brewed for 5+ minutes, the maltiness overwhelms the complexity and it tends toward a typical Irish Breakfast-y taste.

The second infusion is good and strong, but nothing special — again, more like an Irish Breakfast tea. I usually just toss it after the first infusion or rebrew for a housemate.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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48
drank Apricot Green by Adagio Teas
13 tasting notes

This blend has an amazing smell that, like most teas, it doesn’t live up to. Apricot complements green tea but the flavor is weak and elusive. Brewed hot, the fruityness is barely there; cold brewing brings it out more but not enough to be satisfying. Oh well.

Preparation
Iced

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manual brewing fanatic and coder

strangely enough, i am not physiologically addicted to caffeine