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Recent Tasting Notes
Summer Vacation! Woke up early this morning and am getting in a cuppa of black tea before work. Thanks to the generosity of Meowster I have several new Chinese blacks in my cupboard… thanks Meowster!
So this morning I have brewed up a Keemun, and other than having it in blends with other blacks, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had it straight before. It has a nice aroma, a bit like leather, evergreen, and subtly smoky. This is quite nice. I was worried it might be a bit too much for me, but it’s actually very smooth; it’s robust, but doesn’t carry any bitterness or astringency. The maltiness of the brew is more mild, but it has nice notes of dark cocoa, leather, smoke, and a bit of earthiness that tastes of evergreen needles and mushrooms. I also get the faintest hint of black pepper right at the finish. I certainly prefer something like this at breakfast than a typical breakfast tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Leather, Malt, Mushrooms, Pepper, Pine, Smoke, Smooth
I didn’t expect this tea to taste like chocolate. I didn’t expect something that tastes exactly like chocolate to have no sugar. Nevertheless, I like it. Sometimes life gives you lemons, sometimes it gives you tea that tastes like a mole. Just roll with it.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa
I went through a chai phase a while back and bought Adagio’s chai sampler. I was searching out the “perfect chai” for a coworker. lol Now I make some masala chai on the stovetop whenever I want tea, but I need to de-calcify my tea kettle. Vinegar for the win!
I made this the traditional masala chai method: dissolved the sweetener in 2 cups of water, brought to a boil, added the tea, boiled for ten minutes, added 2 cups milk (almondmilk in my case), brought back to a boil, strained and served.
It’s very yummy! The cocoa nibs make it extra smooth and little sweeter than my usual chai. The cinnamon is strong enough that not being able to find my cinnamon sticks was totally okay. The ginger gives it an extra hot punch, which is great. I kind of miss the cloves or cardamom. I think it could do with a little more actual masala. The black tea base isn’t super high-quality, but it survives the boiling without being really bitter. Overall, I’m impressed. When I’ve sipped down all my chai’s, this could be in the running for a repurchase.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Creamy, Ginger, Smooth, Sweet
June Wedding! Something old! I got these last summer in a sampler size with an Adagio order, and can’t even remember what prompted me to decide to try them. But I’m certainly glad I did. I think this is one of the better teas I’ve ever tried from Adagio, and I think since then I’ve restocked this tea from a different vendor, but have yet to break into that stash until I manage to sipdown this sampler.
This tea is just so smooth and malty, while retaining a really sweet finish; it doesn’t have the harsh bitterness or astringency that I’d grown used to with Indian teas, and I think this is the tea that really sold me on wanting to explore more Chinese blacks. It just had a flavor that really clicked with me. I get notes of malt, baked bread, a very subtle hint of apricot, and a honey sweetness toward the end of the sip, and it goes down very smooth.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Smooth
Tropical fruits, green rooibos, some nice mango sweetness at the end. I think citrus dominates this, mostly orange and lemon zest. The green rooibos does well for a base, but there is nothing too complicated here. It is just some orange/citrus and stone fruits with green rooibos. It is good, but nothing unique.
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Fruity, Mango, Orange, Stonefruits
Well, I’ve just come back from my yearly vacation to Boise for Anime Oasis! This is one of the few times a year I get to meet up with my best friend Todd who lives in the Bay Area of California, and we had a most harmoneous tea exchange; my last order from 52Teas was a combo order with some things he wanted so I was able to give him his things, and since I don’t have a DAVIDsTEA anywhere in my area and he does, he picked up a few things for me and brought them along. I also was able to clear out a few of my leftover samplers and some of my chamomile-heavy teas on him, as he likes those. My cupboard was doing pretty well before the trip… but then I visited Snake River Tea, and now it’s about where it was before… heheheheh…
Since the convention takes place at a hotel that is right next door to a tea shop, every day it is custom for us to stop in and share a pot of tea! The first day we stepped in to Snake River Tea, the barista saw me and proclaimed, “Hey, you’re the person who bought all that tea last year!” I answered, “I don’t mean to add to your retail PTSD, but I plan to buy more this year! Don’t worry though, it won’t be as bad as last year, my cupboard is getting a bit out of hand at home!” I did keep my word though, and restrained myself to only ten teas this year, not including the pots I sampled in-shop. And the barista was so nice, he even added a free pu-erh stuffed tangerine because I’m such a good customer.
So this pot was from my first visit, and I ordered the Yunnan Noir, which I am fairly certain is sourced from Adagio. I’ve been on a Chinese black kick, and I needed a lot of caffeine for the first day of the convention! I really enjoyed the tea; it was a hardy black, reminding me of the sort of tea suitable for breakfast time (even though I was having it as a late afternoon pick-up!), but it was very smooth with no bitterness or astringency (which is part of the reason why I tend to find I prefer Chinese blacks in general over Indian blacks). This was a very malty tea, and had a very smoky taste on the finish, and I picked up just the slightest touch of a stonefruit note at the back of the tongue. The tea had a very subtle sweetness, but mostly the tea comes off with a smooth robustness void of bitter or astringent notes.
Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Smooth, Stonefruits
This brought back memories – I haven’t had Adagio teas in a long time, but they were one of the companies that got me into loose leaf teas ~10 years ago. This one holds up pretty well! Some of it is “natural flavors”, which don’t hold up as well on re-steeping, but there’s a good portion of real spices too. Strong, spicy, flavorful!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper
I can’t believe the low score on this tea, I really enjoyed drinking this hot and cold. I find it one of the better representations of what I expect a pina colada black tea to taste like. I’ve yet to have a pina colada black that actually tastes good (usually soapy or old coconut ruins it). I had this first iced (plain) and then as a latte (soy milk + hot tea). Both were great, but the coldbrew brought out more acidic pineapple and stonefruit notes, hot I got pineapple but more coconut and a lot more flavour from the black base.
Flavors: Coconut, Fruity, Pineapple, Stonefruits, Tannin, Tropical
Adagio understands my need for decaf black teas. And I sure love a good blueberry tea. This is the best of both worlds and makes a nice evening latte or early-morning-comfort tea. Something about blueberry is reassuring to me.
The tea used as the base is not top quality, but since I like this as a latte I can’t tell. If you don’t oversteep it, you will end up with a great (and not bitter) brew.
Flavors: Blueberry, Fruity, Tannin
I really like this blend. There is a nice citrus element (orange zest), some clove, a bit nutty, a whole host of chai spices, and some honey-flavoured rooibos. I usually prefer my chai teas as a honeybush or rooibos, that way I get some extra sweetness and no tannicity or bitterness.
My order to Adagio did not include any hibiscus teas, so every tea from them has been fabulous.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Honey, Nutty, Rooibos, Spicy, Sweet
This is a great tea for making iced teas when you don’t want to risk oversteeped green/black teas (bitter) or overpowering hibiscus (sour). I’m glad I picked some of this up in my adagio order.
The green rooibos is great, the dry leaf is really pretty with the dried blueberries, green rooibos, and cornflower petals. I get a lot of blueberry flavour, hints of the green rooibos (reminds me of lime leaf). It has a touch of sweetness as is, but it also takes sweetener well.
Flavors: Berry, Blueberry, Lime, Rooibos, Sweet
Chai to Stay Dry! This is another tea that I picked up from Snake River Tea in Boise, and I remember being pretty taken by it from their sampler pot when I visited their shop last May (I’ll be making my yearly trip next month, and am already getting pretty excited, though with a much fuller tea cupboard this year, I probably won’t be picking up near so much!) A quick bit of searching and I’ve found this particular blend was sourced from Adagio Teas.
I’m… not exactly sure what I saw in this tea when I tasted the teaser, because it certainly doesn’t hold up for me now. The first major problem I have with this tea is it is heralded as a white tea chai, but the actual leaf has hardly any actual white tea leaf in it; it looks like a near replica of my Lemon Spice tisane by Strand Tea that can be found in my Tasting Notes. And honestly… it’s a pretty close taste match, too. The main differences, as far as flavor, is that this tea is a little stronger on the fruit notes and is therefore a little sweeter, and isn’t quite as spicy as Strand Tea’s Lemon Spice. The lemongrass forms the base of the tea, so it has a strong lemon flavor, and there are some very noticable pine notes to the blend, which paired with the heavy lemon just give it a very… Lemon Pledge sort of taste. It isn’t undrinkable, but it isn’t exactly a pleasant association, either… and if it weren’t for that, I actually do like the way the citrus and spices of the blend work together. I get notes of ginger, cinnamon, and peppercorn, and the fruit in the blend lends enough sweetness to compliment the spices and really bring out their flavor. It actually packs a pretty decent heat for a non-traditional chai. I just wish it actually had more white tea and didn’t taste so strongly of Pine-Sol. It’s that pine note that kind of ruins it, and I’m not exactly sure where it is coming from. If it’s actually the white tea causing that, then they should’ve just dropped it altogether and made it a tisane spice blend like Strand’s Lemon Spice tea. Honestly, I don’t remember the Lemon Spice tea having that strong pine note, but it’s been a while.
I tried a different white chai in the past which can be found in my Tasting Notes, Art of Tea’s White Winter Chai, and I liked it far more than this one. That tea has sort of a refreshing evergreen note. So it tasted a bit of pine, but it wasn’t paired with lemon, so it didn’t give off that Pine-Sol association, and it was full of leafy white tea, and the spice blend in it was wonderful. But it is only available during the holidays, and only in quarter-pound or larger sizes, and I sort of hate having such a large size on hand (it takes me eons to finish off that size of tea). Next winter I may just have to break down and buy a bag anyway if I can’t find another white chai in the meantime I like as much (or better). But this one definitely isn’t working out for me.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger, Lemon, Medicinal, Peppercorn, Pine, Resin, Spicy, Sweet
This is another tea my coworker asked for to give as a graduation gift (actually, she asked for my Raspberry Limeade, but my stash was way too low on that to gift it so I had to look for a replacement and decided on this). After giving out the 15g for her samplers what was left was enough to do an iced tea quart, so… another sipdown! Eh, fruit teas go fast, especially when only having an ounce to begin with.
This one also came from Snake River Tea in Boise, but was quite obviously sourced from Adagio from the name and ingredient list (they also only carry it during the warmer months out here in Idaho, so they market it specifically during iced tea weather). Since I made it iced myself, I can see why, because it is a rather tasty fruit tea with a strong strawberry flavor. There was a lot of hibiscus and rose hips in the base, but honestly, the flavor has come out pretty sweet and with more strawberry flavor than I was expecting, and I have a strong strawberry aftertaste left in my mouth, as well. The flavoring gives this a pretty strong strawberry flavor so it doesn’t taste quite as fruit punchy as I’m used to with iced hibiscus, and the apple does a lot to add natural sweetness. I personally don’t need sweetener as I like hibiscus teas and find the slight tanginess very pleasant, but for those that like their strawberry on the very sweet side, a little sweetener will probably do you fine.
I do think I like this one better than the last iced tea I had with a strong strawberry note, which was T2’s Riotous Rose, as that tea had a noticable currant flavor that came in just under the strawberry and I kept finding myself wishing the strawberry was more dominant… and this tea is just that — a nice, dominant strawberry flavor, with a slightly tangy fruit tea base.
Flavors: Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy
I did a sipdown of this 12g bag that came with my Adagio ingenuiTEA Bottom-Dispensing Teapot. I think I got four servings out of it. The packaging says to steep for 7-10 minutes! So I did 7 minutes for the first steep and 8 for the second.
First steep is very cardamom-heavy, while it’s more balanced with a second steep. I hot-steeped using my IngenuiTEA and then added a little almond milk for flavor and to get it down to my usual drinking temperature. I’m a little wimpy with drinks that are too hot for me.
It’s odd for me with a chai to prefer the second steep, but there you go. It’s unbalanced, but it was free, and drinkable. I tried it without almond milk too (brewed it yesterday and forgot I was out of milk), but prefer it with. This last time I used Almond Breeze “Hint of Honey,” but I can’t taste the hint through all the spices.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove