405 Tasting Notes

82
drank Honeybush Hazelnut by Adagio Teas
405 tasting notes

Mmmm, this is a bedtime tea. The tin smells like fancy flavored coffee (aka hazelnut), the taste is much milder (of course – it’s honeybush), and the aftertaste is the best part. Close your mouth, exhale through your nose, and feel your mouth water for more. This is fairly subtle, with no real tea, but sweet and delightful. The hazelnut and honeybush really blend well.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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56
drank Pu Erh Dante by Adagio Teas
405 tasting notes

1st steep, 4oz water, 4g leaf (after 15 second rinse)

It’s a rather lovely reddish-brown color; there’s certainly a barnyard aroma, but it’s bringing back rather fond memories of a brief spate of horseback riding lessons I had in middle school, so I’m okay with that. I’m not going to try to break it down further – barnyard=hay/dirt/manure/horse. I’m not getting the fish that some others mentioned, fortunately. There is zero bitterness or astringency, and some sweetness. I’ll be curious to see how the flavors evolve.

2nd steep: I didn’t imagine it, there is a bit of an oily sheen on the surface of the tea, just after it’s poured. This faded as the tea cooled. Same dark red-brown color, same sweet barnyard taste, but slightly lighter in flavor and texture.

ETA: Ended up getting 5 steeps out of this, all 20-30 seconds, before it started getting weaker. My tin was very old, inherited from a former roommate and buried in a drawer, so your mileage will likely be better.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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79
drank Snow Buds (Xue Ya) by Rishi Tea
405 tasting notes

I think my palate is just not subtle enough for the white teas yet – I spoil it with strong blacks. This is nice, a little sweet, a little floral/nutty something, but it’s a bare step up from drinking water. This was a gift, so I think I’m going to spend more time with it and some greens or light oolongs before spending any money on white tea.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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24
drank Christmas by Adagio Teas
405 tasting notes

I wanted so badly to like this. I love cinnamon, I love Harney’s Cinnamon tea, but this… it’s bitter. And dusty. Can a liquid taste dry? I found this unpalatably bitter by itself, sugar sweetens the middle but doesn’t help the lingering bitterness, and milk makes it drinkable. It has a nice warm cinnamon aroma, and you can see the cloves in the dry leaves, but… well, I wish I hadn’t bought 4oz based solely on the description. If you want a cinnamon black tea but all the others you’ve tried are too spicy or too sweet, try this.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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78

I got a huge (pound, I think) bag of this through a random sale at Amazon, so 1) there might be a lot more reviews soon, and 2) it might be a little old. I used a heaping teaspoon for 8oz water, and it was just right today. I’ll play with quantities and extra steeps later ;) A nice dark coppery-red color; the flavors are malty, round, and satisfying, with a little bit of chocolate and hazelnut(?) for interest. Drinking this makes me sigh with contentment.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Irish Breakfast by Adagio Teas
405 tasting notes

Definitely getting the malty notes today – the Assam gives this a real heartiness and full body. It has a depth and strength that I miss in some of the more delicate blacks (Darjeeling, Ceylon). I’m having a little more trouble picking out the Ceylon in the blend, but that’s probably what’s making it more interesting than a straight Assam – there are some high notes above the malt. With a little milk, this is rich and satisfying.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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59

This is…ok. I’m not a fan of herbals in general, but I can’t do caffeine at bedtime and I do love vanilla. As far as I can tell, they literally took the basic Sleepytime blend (chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass primarily) and added fake “French Vanilla” flavor. It smells strongly of the fake vanilla, but (fortunately) tastes milder – more of a gentle vanilla/mint. It’s a bit tastier than the classic Sleepytime, but I think I’ll keep looking for a well-flavored honeybush or rooibos for bedtime.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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57
drank Darjeeling #22 by Adagio Teas
405 tasting notes

This one’s been sitting in my cupboard for awhile, maybe for good reason. The bright orange color seems to be its best point. It seems that 5 minutes was too long, or I used too much leaf or something, because this is almost undrinkabley bitter. I can get some of the fruity muscatel flavor still, but for the most part my tongue is overwhelmed with the astringency. Some milk mutes the bitterness and brings out more grapey flavors, but I’m definitely going to have to play with this a little to get it right.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Bleu Peacock by Mighty Leaf Tea
405 tasting notes

I love this blend; it actually contains green tea along with the oolong, so I never brew it near boiling. More cream and caramel than fruit, the scent and flavor are both rich. The aftertaste has jasmine, vanilla,… purple was a good word, actually. The aftertaste is very purple. Be sure not to brew, or drink, this one too hot – it loses a lot of the complexity.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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61
drank Keemun Encore by Adagio Teas
405 tasting notes

Very smoky, a little sweet, but not as sweet as the Keemun Concerto. I’m not getting much of a rich or chocolatey flavor, but there is kind of a woody astringent aftertaste. Good, but not my favorite Keemun.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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