1206 Tasting Notes
Having said goodbye to the triple yesterday, I’ve moved to Mr. (Ms.?) double for this morning.
The first thing I wanted to check was the color, because I had this weird experience where the tea liquor seemed to get darker from triple to single bergamot versions, but then I decided it was probably either a fluke or just an inability to remember exactly since I didn’t put them side by side. The liquor in this one, today, looks the same color as in the triple version yesterday, or close enough to same to make me think that really was just a weird one-off color thing.
The tea base in this one tastes to me a bit richer and sweeter than I’d remembered it, more like the base in the single version. I don’t know whether all three versions share a base. I assumed they did at first, but there’s no reason that should be true.
However, it does make sense that the “lighter” the bergamot, the more the base would shine through regardless of whether it’s the same. That’s what I’m getting here.
Conclusion: the triple bergamot’s bergamot isn’t so much stronger as generally “more” in terms of balance between bergamot flavor and tea flavor, while the double lets the tea flavor through a medium amount and the single lets it through the most.
Sipdown no. 48 for the year 2014. A sample of loose tea in a single serving packet rather than a teabag. Guessing at water temp, and I also think I slightly oversteeped though I was shooting for 1.5 minutes.
Sometimes I wonder how I managed to live as long as I have on this planet, have been reasonably well-educated, etc. and not have knowingly eaten certain things. One of these is durian. I’ve heard of it, but never tried it. I looked it up and found a lot of references to “the world’s stinkiest fruit.”
The dry leaf smells like a forest—like pine or fir trees. Steeped, there’s more of a melon-y aroma, sort of like… mango? Not a lot of aroma attributable to the green tea base. The liquor is orangish-yellow.
The flavor is not tart so much as a tad bitter; to carry on with the tree description, it rather reminds me of the bitterness in the flavor of pine needles when I crunched them between my teeth as a kid. There’s a sort of mellowness underneath the bitterness, though that isn’t entirely unpleasant.
Not really for me, but I’m glad I got a chance to try it and I’d also now like to try an actual durian.
I had a cup of this next to my bed when I fell asleep last night. This morning, I took a sip of it cold and it was surprisingly good so I poured it into a tumbler and brought it with me on my way down to work.
Not that this matters much since SpecialTeas is no more, but cold this has a really nice, light, lemon vanilla flavor with no rooibos woodiness, at least not until the very last few sips (little fragments of rooibos made it through the Breville filter and collected at the bottom of the tumbler, resulting in more noticeable rooibos flavor right at the end).
Sipdown no. 47 for the year 2014. 50 is in sight! I should definitely make it over the weekend, maybe even by the end of the day.
Under the light of my desk lamp, where I ordinarily sit when on the computer, the liquor today is redder than it looked in sunlight yesterday, closer to the way I described the liquor of the Double Bergamot. I think there must have been a steeping fluke on my first tasting that resulted in a lighter, yellower liquor.
In any case, though my Earl Grey pantheon is full, I will enjoy this while it lasts.
Sipdown no. 46 for the year 2014, with a caveat. This is the only teabag I have of this. It’s from my work stash. But I may have some Maeda-en Sencha in loose form at home.
This is a solid sencha. It’s everything I have come to expect from sencha plus a little more. The flavor isn’t bitter, except for a bit of grassiness that seems to be a characteristic of sencha. On the contrary, I find it to have a bit of sweetness. There is some roastiness as others have said, but to my tastebuds it’s only enough to make the suggestion and not nearly as prevalent as in the genmaicha or the houijicha. It gives this a unique character. I find it quite tasty.
Sipdown no. 45 for the year 2014. Another teabag from the work stash. Despite the temperature given on the slider, I really can’t say that’s the steeping temperature because yet again I forgot the thermometer.
The teabag has a gentle minty fragrance, and the steeped tea has a hint of mint to it as well. There’s something sweet and green tea buttery underneath the mint. Tea liquor is the color of melted butter with a slight green tinge.
The mint is clearly present but not overpowering in the flavor and is a nice blend that reminds me of why I like the blend of spearmint and peppermint in Tazo Refresh. The spearmint mellows the peppermint to keep it from being too much like an Altoid. It does have something reminiscent of a Double Mint gum, which may be because there’s no mediating influence of tarragon as in the Refresh. The green tea’s flavor is not something I can easily separate out, but I do get a buttery, soft flavor to the overall tea that I attribute to the green tea.
It’s tasty enough, but for a green mint, my heart belongs to Samovar’s Moorish Mint.
I brought this with me on the drive down to work today. It’s pretty much the same as my assessment in my initial note, with the exception of the description of the liquor. I described that as dark amber. It’s really darker than that, more like a medium maple syrup color. I’m looking at it through glass as I was in the original note but under different light, and I think it is in fact a somewhat different color than the double and single versions, which looked darker to me.
This smells like warm gingerbread after steeping, with no woodiness or cedar chippiness from the rooibos base. The flavor gives the impression of being cinnamony but I’m not sure it really is. The cardomom, ginger, and cloves keep the cinnamon from running away with the flavor and the vanilla adds a sweetness and a mellowness. I can’t taste the rooibos, at least not very much, which makes this a successful blend in my book.
I’m torn on how to rate this because it’s very good, but I’m not sure I’d stock it. It’s a little on the spicy side for a night time cup; if I’m going to be drinking something at night I’m looking for calming rather than invigorating and I really only drink decaf options at night.
I’m going to go ahead and rate it to reflect my opinion that it is a successful blend, with the caveat that I usually would put something with a rating this high on the shopping list and I am not yet sure I plan to do that here.
Sipping this while watching the kids’ kung fu lessons. It’s a little weirder this time than last. With these chunky mixes I think a lot depends on what actually gets into your filter to steep. The spices are a little stronger at the expense of the tea flavor this time, but not enough for me to mark this down.
I may try the rooibos vanilla version tonight. I’m pushing it as it is drinking caffeine this late.
Sipdown no. 44 for the year 2014. This concludes all the Adagio white tea samplers, unless I find the Jasmine Silver Needle that has either (1) mysteriously disappeared or, (2) been sipped down over the last couple of years without me remembering.
I made sure to measure by weight this time. I also went for a shorter steep time, but not as short as the Breville thinks white teas should have (2:30) because I’m not convinced from what I’ve read that’s the ideal time. I went for 4:30 because the highest rating this tea got on Steepster indicated a 5 minute steep time.
This turned out to work pretty well. The grapefruit tastes much better to me than the other flavored whites. Part of this is the way the flavoring works together with the tea base instead of seemingly at odds with it as some of the other flavored whites seemed to do. Something about the grapefruit flavoring cuts through the plantiness and reduces it to just a hint so the impression is a sweeter tea over all. The grapefruit is definitely apparent, unlike the tangerine in the white tangerine or the pear in the white pear, but it isn’t overwhelming and cloying like the coconut in the White Tropics.
This is definitely my favorite of all the Adagio white flavored teas I tried, and I actually prefer it to the plain whites, too.
Bumping the rating. It earns a place on the shopping list.