485 Tasting Notes
So, I’m sick and staying with family/friends in Colorado. I was craving some comfort tea from the moment I woke up. Something with lavender. So my cold-medicine-addled self put on boots and wandered across the street to Wal-Mart, where I was sorely disappointed. They didn’t even have Tazo’s Earl Grey! That was my backup if I couldn’t find anything else with lavender in it.
I returned empty-handed, but was lucky enough to find this in the cupboard. This would do as comfort tea, I thought. And it was good. An old standby. Warm spices, a hint of orange peel, and a caffeinated black tea base. But I’m still craving lavender.
This… this is lame. I usually love apple tea. And I usually really like Ceylon. But this is a weak, bland, barely fruity mess with a hint of honey. Like something Celestial Seasonings would make. It also has a sort of indistinct herbal, chamomile-ish taste. It’s been a while since I really disliked a tea. But this does it. I’ll finish the cup, but never again.
But to be fair, I tried this at a friend’s house and it was not in a sealed container. It could just be really stale.
I picked this up at Kroger after noticing it a few days ago when shopping for salad fixin’s. It’s dairy-free, which is alright with me, and soy based. I’m a fiend for chai, and the idea of not having to make it myself appealed to me today.
It’s actually really tasty. The spices aren’t particularly strong, complex, or unique, but it does taste like chai and smooth, creamy vanilla. It’s pretty sweet also, but not too much. Maybe a little sweeter than I would have made it myself, but it’s also creamier than I would have been able to do since I usually add a small amount of milk. I could see myself having this instead of breakfast on my way into midtown. I will certainly pick it up again.
And is it ever filling! The 15-ounce bottle is like a meal to me.
Alright, I’m willing to try this again as fall is approaching. It still smells like that bubblegum you used to get on Halloween from the old folks down the street.
I tried to dress it up a little with a splash of 2% milk and a dash of cinnamon on top. It’s certainly an improvement. The milk’s creaminess rounds it out, but it still doesn’t really taste like pumpkin to me. And there is still no spice at all, aside from the cinnamon that I added. How can you call something “spiced” when it’s plain? C’mon, Adagio, I trusted you!
Today I ventured back to the First Oriental Market, as I’m low on plain black teas and I wanted to try something new. This was very well in my price range, and my past experiences with black teas from the Fujian Province of China have been good. Also, I admit, I love pioneering teas that are new to Steepster.
The packaging is mostly in Chinese, so a lot of the details are lost on me. But it comes bagged, and it smells like it’s going to be a strong, no-nonsense black. I can’t detect any distinct notes just from the scent of the bag. The leaves themselves are black and crushed up like most cheap bagged teas.
It brewed up dark in four minutes, reddish amber with a malty, honeylike aroma. The flavor is surprisingly smooth and very malty. Almost creamy in its aftertaste. It’s milder than I expected, but enjoyable. Like many Fujians I’ve tried, it has a hint of cocoa in it as well. I’m happy that I have a whole box to go through, and I look forward to having this in a tall iced glass.
Finally got around to trying this flavored Keemun.
The tea itself is lovely. Dark brown leaves mixed with red and pink chunks of lychee and whole dried raspberries. There also appears to be some kind of red flower petal mixed in. It smells incredibly strongly of lychee. Like perfume, roses, and red fruit. I can kind of smell the raspberry as well, but the lychee buries it.
The flavor is similar. Lychee, lychee, lychee like a punch to the face. The rose flavor, which I believe is coming from the lychee also, is very present. Peppery almost, but not as strong as a plain black rose tea. The raspberry is there, but you have to really feel for it. Same with the flavors of the Keemun. I think next time I’ll give it another minute to see if the black tea will make more of an appearance. Either way, this is interesting, and STRONG.
So, I’ve been playing around with this tea and I have discovered something worth mentioning. Unlike a lot of Earl Greys and things that are similar, like this, Melange does NOT hold up well as an iced tea. It loses a lot of its subtle flavors and something about it being cold just breaks up the harmony. So, fellow Steepsterites, this is your warning. Make this tea iced at your own risk.
Backlogging from a few hours ago when Steepster was down.
I had been saving this tea for last, as I am a bit crazy for Teavivre’s regular, non-organic Bailin Gongfu. Upon opening the packet, I knew I was in for another treat, as it smelled just like the regular version. Strong, malty, chocolatey. And so on my shopping list.
This version is almost identical to the other in looks and taste, except that it has a slightly more “toasty” flavor. But this is very welcome, for such a hearty black tea. It would make the perfect breakfast cup, in my opinion. Powerful, dark, and bracing. This could easily be my favorite unflavored black tea. It’s what I’m going to be comparing other Fujian black teas to.
I also want to note that in the second steep, the leaves lost a bit of the cocoa flavor and tasted more nutty and toasted.
I got a sudden craving for chai tonight, so I made myself an iced cup.
This kinda another dud by Peet’s as far as I’m concerned. I was happy to see the cinnamon bark and ginger pieces when I made it, but their flavors are weak. The coarse black tea they used overpowers it. When I go for chai, I go for something heavy on the spices and complex. This will do for now, but it’s making me really miss Adagio’s Thai Chai.
A few days ago I went back to Cozee Teas because they seem to have the best selection of bulk loose leaf teas in my area. (And bubble tea!) The place was looking nicer, more organized, and was beginning to get that Decatur feel with local art for sale on the walls. I hadn’t planned on buying anything when I went in, as I mainly wanted to take a peek at what black and bubble teas were available. But two of the teas caught my eye and at a very reasonable price, and I had to have them. So I picked this and a Raspberry Litchi black. And I’ve got my eye on their Vanilla Chai Spice.
When I opened the package to sniff, I was reminded instantly of Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight. It smelled like a strong Earl Grey with an equally strong scent of vanilla. That vanilla was not hiding in the background. The taste is very much similar. Lemony vanilla with a black tea that stands up for itself. Ceylon, I think, but it’s hard to tell over the vanilla. Anyway, I’m having it iced and lightly sweetened and I’m really looking forward to trying it hot.