1206 Tasting Notes

drank Thai Chai by Adagio Teas
1206 tasting notes

And with this, I will have at least tasted all of the sample chais in the set from Adagio. Some were sipped down long ago. Only three of the original six or seven have any small bits left.

I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this one because the flavors that make this Thai are also the flavors that make me a reluctant Thai food eater. My relationship with Thai food goes like this: ooooh, cool! Thai food! Yum! Want! and then when I’m leaving the restaurant, I’m inevitably disappointed in whatever it was I ate, unless what I ate was the old standby for people who don’t really eat Thai food, Pad Thai. It just sounds so much better to me in theory than it actually tastes to my palate.

One of the main ingredients that makes for that result is coconut. Which I like by itself, and with other forms of fruit. Or with chocolate. But with things like shrimp and chicken and fish it can be too sweet for me. I tend to prefer savory flavors in my meats; I’m not a big fan of sweet and sour, either.

Fortunately, there is no shrimp, chicken, or fish in this tea. I decided to try this for a first go according to the Adagio steeping directions for the most part. I steeped it a bit longer than recommended because that seemed to improve the Spiced Apple.

Straight up, its pretty meh. Kind of like the Spiced Apple was meh straight up, only there is more coconut in this than there was apple in that. Sweetened and with milk, it’s better. But it’s not the coconut that is making this weird for me, it’s the lemongrass. It sort of takes the sweetness I was expecting from the coconut and undercuts it so that it’s not really that sweet any more.

I’ll try it on the stovetop another time, maybe with some coconut tea as the extra black and see what that does. But at this point it’s my least favorite among all the Adagio chai samples.

Flavors: Coconut, Lemongrass, Spices

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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I was looking around for something else to cold brew and decided to try this. Even though it’s December, it’s nice to have something cold available to drink. And this way I don’t have to rely on Diet Coke for something with flavor. It’s also cost effective in a stupid way. It’s a sunk cost because I already bought it and have had it sitting around doing nothing, whereas Diet Coke is an incremental cost because I haven’t already bought it. I have to think about such things while looking for a job. ;-)

I haven’t actually tried this hot yet — in fact, I cracked open the tin, which I’ve had for a while, yesterday for the first time. It’s been in the fridge for about 24 hours and I just strained out the leaves.

I’m sure when I bought this way back when I was thinking to myself, Sri Lankan oolong? That sounds pretty interesting. Let’s try that.

I suspect now I’m too much of a purist to go there except perhaps in the small sample size rather than the metric ton size.

As a cold brew, this is pretty tasty. It’s got a flavor that is not nearly as toasty as the Se Chung was, but isn’t really a green oolong flavor either. There’s no milkiness or butteryness, and it’s not obviously floral. It’s very fresh tasting, almost green tea or darjeeling-ish flavor, but not as strong and not nearly as wine-like as darjeeling.

The leaves unfurled to a huge size. So big that when I strained this, I lost about a fifth of the volume to water displacement from the leaves.

I’ll try it hot eventually, of course, but it’s doing a very nice job as a cold tea.

Iced 8 min or more

That’s good thinking when it comes to costs! I’m the same way with diet A&W root beer. I’d go through more if I didn’t cold brew for sure haha.


I know, right? If I already have it, I’m only out the money if I don’t drink it. LOL

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Today is turning out to be a day for experimentation.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d like to try adding some of this http://steepster.com/teas/upton-tea-imports/6598-turkish-apple and steeping per Adagio’s instructions to see whether that brought out the apple more, but didn’t think I had enough of the Spiced Apple Chai left to try both that and a stovetop session.

Oh joy, I was wrong — after doing some preemptive measuring, I discovered I have enough to try both!

I did a 1:1 ratio of chai to apple, and there is definitely more apple flavor. I think I could have gone even farther and done 2:1. Adding milk and sweetener brings the apple flavor out even more.

I’m not changing the rating because I had to do things to this to get it to where I thought it was really good — but I’m pleased with how this turned out.

Later this afternoon or tomorrow, I’ll try the last bit of the sample on the stovetop and see how that goes. I think I’ll give it an extra tbsp of the apple when I try that.

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drank Smoky Bacon by Man Teas
1206 tasting notes

Today I tried a suggestion from Evol Ving Ness to put maple syrup in this. I put about a teaspoon of syrup in the cup after steeping at boiling five minutes.

Between the experimentation with steeping parameters and the syrup, I have to say there was some improvement! The syrup seemed to tame the smoke somewhat and gave its own separate flavor which made the taste marginally better. The BF didn’t notice a difference, but I did. Then again, he didn’t find this almost intolerable from the beginning whereas I did, so it’s evening out some.

It’s still a pretty bad match for me, though. I’ll be plugging away toward sipdown with all due haste.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Sipdown no. 173. A sample. I didn’t plan to drink this this late a night, but fortunately this sort of tea is supposed to be very low in caffeine. I’d put it in the basket of the Breville then had to leave the house and just got back.

This is really old and had been partially used, so it was open for a while. I remember well my first experience of it and it is truly a shadow of its former self. This is probably the first time I’ve experienced a significant degradation in flavor due to age.

There’s still a sort of green flavor, but much more rice flavor than when the tea was fresh. But in general, it’s just rather pale.

Note to self: Houjicha doesn’t keep. Drink soon after opening.

Flavors: Celery, Nutty, Rice

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Sipdown no. 172. A sample.

Wow, what a pleasant little tea. I didn’t really know what to expect from it, and it was a nice surprise.

The leaves are rolled and green, and they smell fresh and a little grassy in the packet. I steeped them in short infusions in the gaiwan at 195F, starting with 15 seconds after rinsing first.

1. Pale yellow liquor. Vegetal fragrance, a little like spinach or maybe bok choy. Pleasant vegetal flavor, a bit like a Chinese green tea.

2. A bit darker yellow this time. Fragrance is similar to no. 1 with something floral around the edges. Deeper flavor, somewhere between spinach and freshly mown grass. Very smooth and fresh tasting.

3. Liquor color is hanging tough at the same pale yellow. More pronounced floral note this time. I’m still getting a green tea flavor, a bright flavor rather than a buttery one. But I’m wondering if this is trying to morph into something like a tieguanyin in later steeps.

4. A little paler yellow with a greenish tinge. Aroma is less bright, more mellow, heading toward something reminiscent of diary. Flavor still bright and fresh. I don’t think this is going to head any more toward a tieguanyin than it already has, which isn’t much. Leaves have pretty much completely unfurled at this stage and they’re a sort of olive color.

5. Looks yellower this time. The flavor is starting to fade a bit, a bit less bright, a bit more mellow without reaching buttery.

Very enjoyable. I could definitely drink this again.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Floral, Grass, Green, Spinach

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Today is overcast and wintery looking. If I lived somewhere it snowed, it would look like it was about to snow. It’s not really that cold out, but a bit chilly. If it was just a little colder it would be pretty much all the winter we get here.

With that sort of weather, at this time of year, this blend seemed appealing because it smells to me like what people in Texas used to call wassail when I was growing up. I don’t think it’s really wassail because I’m pretty sure real wassail has alcohol of some kind in it. The kind we used to have at friends’ houses was pretty much heated up apple juice with spices in it.

In the sample tin, that’s what this smells like. Mostly cinnamon and some apple. I thought about preparing this on the stovetop, but I was too lazy today to try that. I have enough of the sample to give it a go a bit later. So today I just steeped according to Adagio’s directions. The steeped tea smells like a heated version of the dry tea.

Unfortunately, though, I wasn’t able to get a whole lot of flavor out of this. Apple isn’t really present for me in the sip, though I do taste it in the aftertaste. Mostly I taste cinnamon. Not much tea flavor either. This saddens me because I enjoyed the other Adagio chai samples quite a bit, and this one sounded so good.

I wondered if it would be better with a drop of milk and some Splenda, but that didn’t change the flavor a whole lot other than muting the cinnamon just a bit.

I’m tempted to put a bit of the Turkish apple fruit tisane I have from Upton in with this and see what that does. Haven’t decided whether to do that instead of trying it using the stovetop method. Or I suppose I could put the Turkish apple into the mixture and prepare it stovetop. I don’t have enough left to try it both ways, so I’ll have to pick one.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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I found an unopened package of this in my drawer, and after the enjoyable Yunnan from The Tea Table two days ago, I thought I’d give this one a try. Premium Steap doesn’t have this on their web site at present — they do have a Yunnan, it just isn’t this one.

The leaves in the bag are generally darker with fewer blonde ones in the mix than yesterday’s. The dry leaf has a piquant scent like darjeelings tend to have and also smells a bit like rye bread.

The liquor is a lovely, clear, cherry wood red. The tea has a sweet, sugary fragrance that also has some whiffs of bread and something dark to it, like maybe molasses.

The flavor is pleasant and very smooth, very “tea” like in the sense of generic black tea flavor, but with a sweetness that lingers on the tongue and a bit of malty breadiness. I might try steeping it a little longer next time and see if that gives it a bit more depth. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just think it might be capable of more than I’m tasting in it now.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Molasses

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Smoky Bacon by Man Teas
1206 tasting notes

More bacony today in both scent and taste, less so in taste than in scent. It’s not a mouth full of ash today as it was yesterday in any case. Perhaps it’s because I used 212F water instead of 205?

Not enough improvement in either the overall experience or the smoky bacon flavor department to merit revisiting the rating, though. This is now in my sip down as fast as possible pile.

Evol Ving Ness

Morgana, have you tried adding a bit of maple syrup to make this more bearable? To me, that sounds like it might have potential. Good luck!

In Montreal, I came across bacon-flavoured bloody marys premixed in cans. I bought a couple. Horrible, horrible. Couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.


LOL. Thanks for the tip, Evol Ving Ness. I fear that adding syrup may make it taste more like bacon rather than less, which, while it would make the tea more true to its name would probably do a number on my stomach. But I’ll give it a try for giggles tomorrow. :-)


This may be good for cooking. I’ve heard people making a lot of dishes with Lapsang Souchong, and since this has a lot of similarities I think it may work the same way! Maybe as a marinade for roast, or in a gravy?



Indigo, that’s a good idea. It could work as a rub, I think.


I’ve always wanted to try it myself but never remember to actually do it haha

Evol Ving Ness

^^ That is a brilliant idea. The maple syrup might work well in the rub and gravy as well.

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drank Blueberry by Adagio Teas
1206 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 171. The consumption of samples I like before they turn completely to dust continues.

I think my first note pretty much covered this one. I like it slightly more than the apricot of yesterday, mostly because I haven’t had much other blueberry tea and it’s surprising to me that there even is such a thing given the subtlety of blueberry as a flavor. That a tea can capture the aroma and flavor of blueberries without being solely a fruit mix and can do it in a way that isn’t fakey fakey is a good thing in my book.


Blueberry teas are rare, but it’s always nice when they work out. I have a jasmine blueberry green tea that I really like


Emilie, which is the jasmine blueberry green that you like?


It’s this one
I can send you some if you’re interested in it :)


Thanks much — I appreciate the offer but I am drowning in tea. I’ll just keep the info for future reference.

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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