522 Tasting Notes
At 3 am last night, I decided I wanted to make chai. Not because I wanted a cup at that hour, but because I really enjoy the ritual of it. Also, it makes my kitchen smell amazing. I figured I’d put it in the fridge for the next morning, when it would be greatly appreciated.
I’m almost done with this tub of bulk black tea. I don’t like it very much, but it works well enough as a base to blend with. I’m going to try it with a plain Assam next.
This is my current chai recipe, if anyone’s curious:
4 cups water
8 tsp. black tea
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 cardamom pods (mine might be a bit old, so you might need less)
5 cinnamon sticks (same goes for this)
1 2" piece of ginger root, sliced up
1 tbsp honey
This makes chai concentrate, so it’s best served over a lot of ice and with milk.
Mmm, this is unexpectedly the perfect tea for the changing of the seasons. The very first hints of fall are showing here, making me excited for heavy, smoky, and spicy winter teas. But not yet! It’s still in the eighties during the day, and the sun isn’t all the way down until nine.
Anyway! The tea itself is beautiful. Slender, green leaves mixed with bright red peppercorns, white coconut shavings, tan pineapple pieces, yellow lemongrass, brown cloves and cinnamon. The aroma is strong, spicy, and promising. It reminds me a lot of Adagio’s Thai Chai, which is one of my favorites.
This tea brews up to a very light tan, and when the milk is added, it almost goes completely white. Very interesting… I wonder how it would look with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top! Flavorwise, the cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon are in the forefront. There’s really too much going on in this to taste the white tea (at least, in the way that I prepared it). The lemongrass is very present as well, but I can hardly tell there’s any pineapple. Can’t taste that much at all, but it’s there. Same with the coconut. It’s in the very background, but present. Anyway, this is pretty crazy, and I like it a lot. I might have to reorder once it really starts getting cold.
Full disclosure: I didn’t look at the steeping instructions on this. I winged it, for once.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Fruity, Ginger, Lemongrass
I’ve had this in my cupboard twice already without reviewing. I thought I had gotten to it, but no, I had only written a short review for Adagio.com in exchange for some points. (I love that point system… it’s gotten me plenty of free tea when my bank account was low.)
Anyway, my review there said: “Every morning before work, I steep something for the commute. I bought this tea wanting something for summer that I could ice and enjoy while blasting the AC. Turns out, this is perfect. The coconut flavor is strong and realistic. Tropical and delicious. It reminds me a lot of the ‘coconut palm’ bubble tea that I’m obsessed with, only with less calories and a way better price. If you get this, try it with a splash of milk! It’s great!”
I also want to mention the generous amount of dried coconut shavings mixed in. They really add an extra dimension of tropical goodness.
I’ve had this tea in my cupboard for a good while and just hadn’t gotten around to it. I wish I had tried it sooner!
I made it iced, as it’s still blazingly hot here in the ATL. The leaves are very fragrant, smelling sweet and almost marshmallowy. I can tell it’s the same vanilla Adagio uses in their black vanilla tea, as well as their Earl Grey cremes. As far as the actual green tea goes, it’s low-to-mid-grade sencha. Flat and dark green, with almost no whole pieces.It brews up to a pale greenish yellow, as one would expect. The flavor is deliciously soft, creamy vanilla. However, it completely mutes the actual tea aspect. I know a lot of you would see this as a bad thing. I can’t say that I don’t exactly, but I’m really not a fan of green teas in the first place. I just never really developed the pallate. Also, I’m pretty crazy about vanilla, so… yeah. I like it! I’m glad I have it. It’s like a dessert without the calories and I could see myself getting it again.
Flavors: Cream, Vanilla
Hey, Steepster. Sorry it’s been a while. Things have been really crazy on my end. I don’t want to waste time on specifics, but I’ve been too stressed to dedicate much time to sitting down and writing. Also, I noticed I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to write about teas – so much that I was guilting myself into anxiety over drinking teas I haven’t reviewed yet. And that’s not cool. Tea should be enjoyed, not worried over!
As far as this tea goes, it’s pretty much what I expected from Adagio, but with a little extra. Mild black tea base that goes well with any sort of flavoring, check. Cute little pieces of dried cherries, check. But there are also pretty pink flower petals? Ooh, that’s unexpected.
The petals add a sort of rosey, lychee-like quality that goes well with the cherry. It’s definitely a tart cherry taste, not black cherry. Though the tea itself isn’t tart, it has the flavor of fruit that probably would be. I can’t say this tastes exactly like candy, as others have said, but I know for a fact that this one of the teas Adagio has enhanced over the years. A bunch of their flavored teas have had their recipes improved, to my surprise. (Caramel, vanilla, and mango are some I noticed, though I’m not really a fan of what they did to the mango…) Anyway, despite the improvements, I can’t say this is what I was hoping for. But I bet it will blend well with the coconut tea I bought!
Flavors: Berry, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Rose
This tea was intruiging from the moment I opened the foil packet. It seemed there was just as much dried tangerine rind as there was tea leaf inside! Now, this is my second flavored puerh. Before, I had tried a chocolate one by The Tea Spot, but I didn’t care for it much.
The scent is very interesting. The fruit is in the forefront, but it isn’t so much a fresh fruit aroma. It smells more like the tangerine tree itself. Sure, there are notes of citrus in it, but I also smell wood, dried leaves, and something very sweet.
As the tea steeps, it comes to a dark shade of brown, almost like coffee. The tangerine peels float to the top and rest there. The flavor of the tea is “cooked” for lack of a better word. The fruit tastes the way it would in a cobbler, sort of. There’s also a hint of something that reminds me of cereal. While this is very new and interesting, I can’t say I’m a huge fan. Maybe I still need to grow into puerhs.
Flavors: Bark, Citrus Zest, Wood
The first thing I notice about this tea is how pretty it is! Gold and chocolate-colored tea leaves rolled into narrow strips, decorated with bright pink rose petals. My sample even included a perfect, whole rose bud. I admit, I plucked it out and sniffed it. Dried roses smell a lot like fresh ones, only a tad more peppery. It had also absorbed some of the decadent Fujian black tea flavor. Mmm.
The tea itself is a little more mellow than I expected, but I like it. Unlike some rose teas I’ve tried in the past, this one isn’t too peppery with the rose flavor. It’s mild and comforting. In the black tea I taste notes of sweet potato and dinner rolls. I know dinner rolls is sort of a weird descriptor, but it’s good! I love the fact that Teavivre never skimps on the quality of the black teas they use for flavored teas. It’s always something that would be fantastic on its own.
There’s something very relaxing about it. I would love to try this again during the winter, to enjoy the summery rose contrasted against the cold.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Rose, Sweet Potatoes
Yesss, another Teavivre yunnan. I absolutely love their complexity and brilliant flavors. Teavivre’s selection has really changed my taste in black teas. While I used to prefer bitter, strong blends, my eyes have now been opened up to Fujians. It’s been like going from a black and white world to a life in vivid color.
As I always do, I took a moment to look the leaves over and smell them. They’re very dark brown, in mostly uniform pieces. Simple and fragrant. Once steeped, you can see that they’re all new growth. The leaves are pointed at the end and narrow, having been harvested before they had time to become more rounded. It brews up to a bright orange amber, perfectly clear. I smell notes of honey, dates, raisins, and maybe baked goods.
The flavor is a satisfying treat. Perfectly smooth, without any astringency. The fruity notes are especially noticeable on the exhale. I can taste honey also. And yet, there’s a touch of floralness, too. Basically, there is a lot going on in this tea, but it’s a harmony.
Flavors: Fig, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Raisins, Wheat
I got excited when I found this on sale for $1.80 a box. I recognized the name and immediately thought “The guys who make Sweet Chai Of Mine!! Awesome!”. But after checking out its profile here on Steepster, I realized this one might not be a winner like the other. Also, it says “Overflowing with pure pleasure” on the packet… that’s awkward.
However, upon opening one of the little pouches, I’m greeted by a very nice aroma. Cinnamon, sweet vanilla, clove, cardamom, ginger root. It actually smells a lot like Sweet Chai Of Mine. Or a cinnamon bun.
The flavor is a little heavy on anise, which I’m not really into. The same goes for the cinnamon, which gives it a Red Hots candy flavor. I’m not getting as much vanilla as I had hoped. The ginger and cardamom are very weak, but present. They add a sort of gingerbread man taste when combined with the vanilla. Anyway, this isn’t a bad chai. It’s just mild and not very interesting. I’ll be happy to finish it, but I know I wouldn’t buy it again.
Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Vanilla
Initially, I bought this tea to practice blending chai with. You know, something really cheap and in bulk so I could mess up if need be. (The entire tub, about 5.5 oz of leaf, only cost me two dollars.) Now that I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of it, I’m finally trying the tea plain.
The leaves are in tiny, nearly black pieces. Its aroma is weak and sort of cardboard-like. As it steeps, the water gets a little cloudy. It has a sort of tangy scent and flavor that I’m not liking. A sort of weird, iodine-like sourness. Otherwise, it tastes like your standard Ceylon. A tad bitter and astringent with notes of hay and earth. Once I finish the tub, I’ll probably reach for some other bulk black tea to mix with… but this served its purpose.
Flavors: Earth, Iodine