408 Tasting Notes

57
drank Darjeeling #22 by Adagio Teas
408 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
408 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
408 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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57
drank Champagne Oolong by PuerhShop.com
408 tasting notes

More deep orange-gold in color than pale, but I suppose that will fade on later steepings – still, a lovely color. Definitely getting the fruity/muscatel flavor, and maybe a bit of amaretto nuttiness as well as the roastiness of a Formosa. Good, but not my favorite oolong

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec

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80

First steeping is being a bit harsh this time, more smoky than sweet; I’ll try a higher water-to-tea ratio on the next. Milk softens the harshness, but it feels like a shame to add anything to such a normally classy tea. For those who found a caramel taste – do you add anything? Cream/sugar/honey?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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51
drank Summer Kiss by Red Leaf Tea
408 tasting notes

More tart than sweet, a dollop of honey would likely do some good. Tastes predominantly of hibiscus, but to be fair it is… softer, if not sweeter, than plain hibiscus tea. I was disappointed that the rosebuds didn’t come through more. Still, if you like the floral tartness of hibiscus and rosehips, but want something a little less sour, this may be the tea you’re looking for.

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

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85
drank Fujian Baroque by Adagio Teas
408 tasting notes

My go-to black tea, lately, this is a solid pick. More cocoa and spice on the nose than the palate, but I am drinking it with milk, to be fair. Adagio calls it “velvety” and that’s not wrong. I also haven’t managed to oversteep it, despite my best attempts – soft, with little or no astringency, without being bland. I’ll likely buy more when this 4oz runs out.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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61
drank Huang Jin Bolero by Adagio Teas
408 tasting notes

Aroma, flavor, and after taste are all faint, but enjoyable; Hints of honey and flowers. Color is pale green. There is a slight astringency – it’s possible 3 minutes is too long. The 2nd steep is at least as good as the first.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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89
drank Dancong Aria by Adagio Teas
408 tasting notes

On a second steeping the color is just as vibrant if not more so, and a bit yellower than the first. I think it got sweeter too, though that might just be because my water was a little cooler. The honey/tropical fruit flavors are more pronounced.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 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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