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Recent Tasting Notes
Just a late-night cup before going off to sleep. This loose leaf thing is kind of ritualistic and soothing in a way. It’s pretty late, so I figured I should try and steep up some decaf.
I’ve had Harney & Sons Decaf Ceylon bagged, so I sort of knew what this one was going to taste like. Ceylon has a very default “tea” flavor. It’s pretty mild, light, and soothing.
Adagio’s Decaf Ceylon was no different. It brew up a nice orange color, and didn’t have any strong smell (neither in the wet leaves nor in the actual cup). The taste was pretty full-flavored, even though it was decaf. My palate isn’t good enough to detect the difference between decaf and regular tea. Or maybe it’s the CO2 process that makes it taste pretty much the same.
The boyfriend tasted this one and he like it enough to have a couple of sips, commenting that it was smooth. I have to agree. I’m still surprised at how not bitter loose leaf is in any way. How pure and clean everything tastes. It’s like the essence of the tea leaf (which it essentially is).
Excellent morning tea. It’s strong and robust and fully flavored. Rich without milk or sugar but could tolerate both, I think. There’s a hint of peat bog, moss, and smoke which makes me think of Ireland.
I would call this a great everyday breakfast tea, especially for those who want a good infusion of caffeine.
I don’t normally drink black teas but tried this with breakfast this morning. I had it plain and love the full mouth flavor of it. I usually lightly steep teas but followed the directions using boiling water for 5 minutes and was granted a full flavor tea that was not bitter or overly strong.
I didn’t find the need for sugar or milk though I rarely drink my teas “English style” and I didn’t think this one needed it at all.
No. Just… no.
Thanks Auggy for giving me different steeping instructions for this guy. It actually tasted a bit better this time around – the bergamot flavor was almost manageable, but it’s still So. Bitter. I did get to taste the Ceylon this time around, which is just smooth default Adagio Ceylon. But the bergamot here just kills me. It’s noxious and overwhelming and just not fun.
If I can’t finish a cup, I really can’t rate this very highly. Is it the worst tea ever? No, and I’m sure that someone that LOVES bergamot would like this. But to me it’s just an unbalanced mess. Too bad it smells so gorgeous. It tempts me into making it only to disappoint me into oblivion.
I should just throw in the towel with Earl Grey, or perhaps I didn’t like Adagio’s blend. Or maybe I brewed it up incorrectly. :(
Whatever the case, this didn’t work for me this morning. This tea smells absolutely delicious – more like a Lady Grey than an actual Grey. I’ve had my nose permanently stuck in it since my Adagio order came in. It’s mouthwatering. And pretty, with the little blues and the dark black of the tea.
And it steeped up to a beautiful amber hue, with a very pleasant smell. Bergamot and citrus and floral.
But the taste left something to be desired for me. It was fairly smooth at the get-go, but then there was a really bitter kick at the end. Very bitter. As in, over-steeped tea, even though I followed the directions that Adagio gave for brewing this baby. Or maybe it was bergamot overload. The bergamot flavor here comes on stronger in the sipping than it does on the nose. Like really, really strong.
I think I need to lower the steeping time on this one significantly. I’m feeling fairly disappointed right now, though. I thought I was going to experience an Earl Grey revelation. As in, “Ahhh, now THIS is what Earl Grey is supposed to be.” I was able to finish the entire cup, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I hoped I would have. Maybe it’s time for me and Grey to part company – even though I really do love Twining’s Lady Grey.
I’ll keep experimenting with steeping time, though, and see if I can mellow this beast.
(P.S. This is one of the funniest reviews that I’ve read about this tea: http://www.teaviews.com/2007/06/25/review-adagio-earl-grey/ I can’t say my experience was AS bad, but it was disappointing on so many levels.)
The Final Sipdown: Day 4.2
Y’all, we are in the middle of a RAIN. STORM. I can hear it coming down in sheets on the other side of my window shade and, oh yes, right on cue – thunder. Rain like this makes me wish I had a screened in porch to enjoy it from, but as I don’t I’ll settle for making some more tea and finding a blanket.
The wet…leaves?…smell of a strange melange of butter and cedar sawdust and [unsurprisingly] hazelnut. The tea is OUCH. Too hot to drink.
Sniffing the hot liquid, I get a whiff of butter + hazelnut again with an added note of popcorn, and that makes me excited to retry this tea. I’m catching up on last week’s episode of Castle, so I’ll wait patiently for this to cool so I can try again it. I’ll just sit here and smell it while the rain pounds down. Waiting patiently. Waiting…patiently. Watching a commercial about Djibouti. Djibouti is fun to say. So is
Argh, impatient. Going to try this again.
Hmm. Bother. I’m remembering why I rated this so low. It tastes like cardboard. Specifically…tongue depressors. Like the taste of a popsicle stick once the popsicle was gone. That’s what this tea tastes like. Except it doesn’t even seize that completely as it’s watery.
Blast. That was a disappointment. I’m going to grab tea number three. In the meantime, however, I’m going to continue to smell this. Mmm…
Teas Downed: 11
All right, Steepster-verse. It’s late here on this slice of the planet and je suis fatigue. So fatigue, apparently, that I’m pulling out my high school French to express it to you. I’m not motivated to go to a Word document and copy out the accent aigu [not sure on spelling there] to properly spell the word fatigue, so just let’s just pretend.
I needed something to drink that wouldn’t keep me up for hours and so I decided to give this one that Auggy sent me a boiling hot bath. Upon typing that it sounds horribly painful.
Dry, this tea just looks like mini wood chips, but wet it takes on a nice, deep burgundy coloring. There’s also a couple of pieces of what I can only assume to be actual hazelnuts in the mix. Here, have a picture.
See? Wet wood chips!
I can see why this reminds people of coffee. Hazelnut syrup or hazelnut flavored creamer are often used in coffee drinks, and the scent of it on its own is reminiscent of coffee beans.
Does it taste like coffee?
Does it taste like hazelnuts?
This reminds me of the Almond Cookie I tried [that Auggy also sent me], in that the taste mainly blooms once it is downed. There’s a faint, and when I say faint, I mean really, really faint, sweetness floating in the liquid, but I’m not getting much else. Sometimes that sweetness takes on a nutty profile, and sometimes it tastes like when you dump a packet of sweetener into a cup of bad coffee.
I also don’t consistently get a lot of flavor in the aftertaste, which is a shame, because when I do it’s good. [This might sound weird, but I get that taste more consistently if I keep my mouth shut and breathe out my nose. Don’t know why.]
It reminds me a lot of wafers. That kind of dry, flavorless flavor. Also, biscotti. I had hazelnut biscotti once that tasted very bland and this reminds me of that. Actually, I’ve never had biscotti that really tasted any good. I don’t know why I keep trying it. If anyone knows where you can find good biscotti in the DC/MD/VA area let me know, because I want to know what all the fuss is about.
I know a lot of people don’t like rooibos, but I’ve found myself planted on this little island of people who do like it. That may be why I was expecting more. To me, rooibos has a fuller flavor to it, so I don’t know if it’s just because this is honeybush, of which this is the first I’ve tried, or because this tea is just made of weaksauce.
So…yeah. This unfortunately isn’t nearly robust enough to fill any coffee needs I may have still lurking about. It also isn’t flavorful enough to be something I would consider buying. But the smell is absolutely delicious and it isn’t so completely devoid of taste that it’s a pain to drink or anything.
Siskel and Ebert give it two thumbs sideways. WAY sideways!
I accidently forgot my mug on the counter so by the time I remember it had gone stone cold. Not daunted, I took a sip and found that it actually isn’t that bad in that state – cool, green (if that can be used as a decription of taste), and refreshing are words I’d use to describe it.
I’m still picking up the faintest trace of cinnamon in the aftertaste, however. I’m curious now to see if Adagio actually uses cinnamon oil or something similar in this blend. Maybe I’ll email and see.
My second try at this tea and I reduced the steeping time in hopes that would tone down the flavour a bit.
When I opened the tin I noticed that there’s some sort of sticky residue on the inside of the tin – presumably from the leaves. I’m almost afraid to ask what it might be from. o_0 The smell of the dry leaves is still a veritable kick upside the nostrils. My brain seems to be interpreting it as a cross between Old Dutch Dill Pickle potato chips and those candy cinnamon hearts that always show up in the stores for Valentine’s Day.
When I tasted the tea I braced myself, but it actually wasn’t that aweful. Ignoring Adagio’s steeping recs definitely paid off, I think. It has a watery, green flavour that does in fact remind me off freshly-cut, raw cucumber.
So in short, not a fantastic tea but I honestly don’t think that it’s as horrible as everyone’s saying it is. ;)
Pulling off the lid of the sample tin (this one was on tight) I caught a wiff of the dry tea. The only thing I can describe it as is a cross between cinnamon and light dill pickles. Yeah, I don’t get it either. It’s not that I don’t like it – I LOVE dill pickles – it’s just such a non sequitur for me and my nose.
I’m glad to see the large number of buds in this tea instead of the crumbled up bits you sometimes get. Taste-wise this tea is actually very close to the taste of raw cucumber, though I’m also still picking up a very minute trace of cinnamon or some other spice.
I drink a lot of peppermint tea. It’s true. I really enjoy the way it tastes, I like the menthol feeling on my tongue and in the back of my throat, and I really enjoy the benefits of it (and the lack of caffeine as well). I know bagged peppermint pretty well.
How awesome is real peppermint? I mean, yeah, in the bag, it’s peppermint. But it’s not like peppermint dust. This is awesome. Amazing. So refreshing and yummy and minty! I used two level teaspoons and followed Adagio’s directions for steeping time and water temperature. The result was a green-yellow liquor that didn’t smell that strongly of peppermint.
But the taste! I still feel the coolness in the back of my throat. I’ve always felt that peppermint has a slightly bitter taste to it. Not this! No bitterness, and after the cooling effect, there’s a faint hint of sweetness. It’s really refreshing. I could drink this all day.
Loose leaf is proving to be super-awesome indeed. Color me impressed!
I’ve noticed that this one is actually a Keemum tea, and that I probably could have resteeped this sucker, but the leaves are already in the garbage.
I have company coming over, and it’s been pretty hectic, so I just wanted a no nonsense tea to jumpstart me in the morning.
I don’t know what happened to my water, since I started at around 8 oz, but it looks like it disappeared to around 6 oz. Bizarre. That’s never happened before.
I think I’m actually enjoying this the second time around more than the first. My first whiff of this tea, and I immediately though, cocoa! I have no idea where this comes from but even after several inhales I was still smelling a dark chocolate-y, spicy aroma. It almost reminded me of Yogi’s Stress Relief Kava blend, which has an immensely delicious smell if you’ve never had it.
Drinking this, I’m getting a faint hint of cocoa, mixed with a slightly tart taste that’s altogether delicious. This is all layered under a very delicious, robust taste of tea-ness. It’s a bit astringent, but not in a bad way at all.
After re-drinking the Twinings blend the other day, the two are so different that it’s really hard to compare them. Loose leaf is just completely far superior. I can’t even describe it. I think as I drink more of it, I’m appreciating that bold =/= bitter, and that this just damned tastes better. I find that I’m enjoying the act of sipping more than actually drinking, my face warmed by the steam, the aromas drifting up my nose, the flavor hitting my tongue, and the delicious and content feeling I get after I’ve swallowed.
And this is why tea will always be better than coffee to me.
And so the journey begins…
I just finished my first cup of loose leaf tea, and what a tactile experience it is! I brewed this up in my brand-new IngenuiTEA, using a teaspoon of Adagio’s blend, and steeping it for the recommended five minutes. I couldn’t help but sniff the little tin over and over again as I waited impatiently for the cup to finish brewing.
The tea steeped to a much more amber color than I was expecting, but I’ve read in several places that this is typical of Adagio’s blend. But the smell! It was so tea-like, so indescribable in a tea way, that my nose is too newb-ish to make out everything. It’s so awesome to watch those leaves unfurl and grow. It looks like an actual plant, and not dust from the factory floor!
The taste is amazing. Beyond the taste of the English Breakfast blend, and this tea in particular, I’m going to talk about the taste of the loose leaf itself. It tastes clean, and pure. It’s not bitter at all (the five minute steep time sort of freaked me out, because if you steep most bagged teas for that long, you have a fairly foul brew). It’s rich and smooth and nuanced. It’s almost like seeing in 3D for the first time. There’s no flatness of taste, or stale flavor. It’s just pure, unadulterated joy.
To talk about this English Breakfast – it’s a bit lighter than I think of when I think of English Breakfast, but it has a lot of the smokey elements that I can sometimes detect. It has an almost buttery quality underneath the main tea taste, with a pretty sweet aftertaste. It isn’t astringent at all, and rolls on my tongue in pure delicious awesomeness.
I am definitely craving another cup. How yummy! It’s like I wasn’t wearing glasses anymore, and now I can see! The only complaints I have right now is that I probably want this one a little stronger. I probably have to add a teeny bit more tea to my teaspoon.
Here comes a ridiculous question, regarding the teaspoon. How does everyone put their tea on the teaspoon? I tried digging my measuring spoon into the tin, but then freaked when I realized that I was probably breaking my precious leaves! So I washed my hands and dried them a million times before carefully picking up the leaves and placing them on the teaspoon. I wasn’t sure how to really “make” the teaspoon, though. The leaves are fairly wiry and long. It didn’t seem like a full “teaspoon,” even though the leaves were peeking out beyond the level point of the spoon.
I know I’m getting all technical. Perhaps I just have to add more tea to the teaspoon, or buy one of those teaspoons made especially for measuring out tea.
Either way, this was an awesome, awesome experience. I can’t wait to continue my journey with loose leaf! YAY!