76 Tasting Notes
I keep forgetting how much I like this stuff.
It’s one of the two teas from Adagio that I ever adored enough to go out and buy a pound of (that, and it’s very inexpensive).
I don’t really see this as a Chai in my mind. I see it more as…a naturally flavored tea. It’s kind of in its own category. As a big fan of coconut, I really like the flavor in this, and while lemongrass isn’t something I would think to add to a black tea, it works very well.
I do have to use more leaf per cup than I do with most of my other teas. A lot more leaf. Like 2-3 times as much. But again, the stuff is so inexpensive ($19 a pound) that it hardly matters.
A lot of people suggest trying this with coconut milk or heavy cream. I have tried these, and found them just a bit much for me. To me, the flavors of those heavier creamers overpower the flavor of the tea just a bit. A splash of plain 2% milk is just perfect for me.
One thing I haven’t done yet is tried this iced. That’s pretty high on my to-do list when warmer weather comes around.
This is probably a completely inaccurate rating, as I am pretty sick right now and can barely taste anything. I’m not sure why I thought to brew up one of my higher-end teas while ill, but I did it anyway, and I may as well write about it.
This is my third time trying to brew this tea; I’ve been having quite a struggle with it. I’ve wanted to try gyokuro for a long time and considering, from what I hear, its picky-ness with brewing parameters, I figure I would start with something…economical.
Well, the first time I tried, I guess the water was too hot—incredible, puckering astringency that only got stronger. The second time I think it was too cool, and tasted like nearly nothing. This time I stuck with the cooler temperature (140-145), upped the leaf ratio to 1g/1oz, and forced myself, against all my past experiences, to let it steep for a full 90 seconds. I have an incredibly low tolerance for bitterness, and will often brew my sencha at a lower temp and for a shorter time than most people, so it was hard to make myself actually steep this as long as I did, but it was worth a shot.
The resulting first cup was interesting— it was mostly smooth and mellow and, I think “brothy” is the word most tea-snobs use. But it was flecked with these “spots” it seemed, of sharp astringency that was just a little offputting, but interesting. I kind of want to attribute this to the many bits of leaves that passed through the strainer, but no idea if that was really the case. It felt wonderful going down though, even if I couldn’t taste it very well. Kind of a chicken soup sort of feel.
The second infusion was even better— stronger in flavor and lacking those little sharp points of astringency (which again would make sense if the flecks of leaf were a cause, since most of them were washed out in the first steeping). By the third steeping it had mellowed out and I couldn’t taste much (but again, my nose feels like someone managed to cram an entire sock into it right now).
I forgot to mention I’m using my little 2oz green kyusu from Den’s Tea. It is the cutest little thing and gyokuro seems to be my best excuse to use it. Sometimes— I know this is probably the most uncultured and rude-sounding behavior in the tea world, but I can’t help myself— I enjoy sipping the tea straight from the tiny spout. Shhhh.
I actually ended up re-steeping this many, many more times, probably around 10-15. Weird as it sounds, that warm, grassy water went a long way in helping me feel better.
It’ll be interesting to duplicate these brewing parameters again when I’m feeling better and see if it’s actually any good. I’m a little skeptical of my own tastes right now, since I tried a bit of my boyfriend’s orange spice tea that had apparently been accidentally left steeping for half an hour, and thought it was pretty good. Which makes me think I should be using my temporary taste-loss as an opportunity to sip through all my cheap and/or stale tea that I need to clear out, instead of drinking higher-end stuff like this. But it’s hard to regret it; I really did enjoy this tea!
This is pretty much my staple Genmaicha. It seems to be light enough on caffeine that I can drink it in the evenings or on days when caffeine just isn’t sitting well with me. It’s not a blow-you-out-of-the-water-and-knock-your-socks-off kind of tea, but the toastiness is very comforting and the matcha adds a lovely sweetness, not to mention a nice color. I probably drink this on at least a weekly basis, preferably alongside some soy-glazed brown rice balls.
I actually have the larger 4-cup size of this— even though it’s labeled as the “iced” version, it’s the same thing, works the same way, just in a larger size. Perfect for filling my boyfriend’s giant mugs or just when we both want an average mugful, and even (gasp) making iced tea! I marked out 8/16/24oz lines on it with a sharpie for when I need smaller servings.
I owned the regular-sized version for a long while and used it to death before it violently hit the floor one day. The smaller one had a permanent, unremovable filter (their new version if I’m not mistaken) which personally bothered me a little, since if the filter tears or is otherwise damaged, it seems you’d have to replace the whole unit. It also made my inner clean-freak twitch a little as areas of the pot were near-impossible to clean (I don’t own a dishwasher, that probably would have solved the problem).
The four cup size, however, still has the removable filter, which is great for easier cleaning. I’ve never had a problem with it floating away or falling out or had a hard time taking it out or putting it back in or anything. Maybe that was only a problem with the smaller versions.
This is certainly a bit of teaware that gets daily use in my house; I have a hard time imagining my mornings without it.
This is my first experience with a milk oolong. When I first opened the bag, the smell strongly reminded me of “Milky Candy” that I used to eat a lot of as a child. A nice smell, just not one I would expect from tea.
I steeped this in my 90ml gaiwan, 4.5 grams (Should probably try for 3-4 next time), 160~70 degrees and increasing.
The milky flavor comes through very strong in the first few steepings, almost overbearingly so, but then abruptly drops off into a “greener” taste. At this point I had to use boiling water and longer than average steep times to extract any flavor at all from it.
The first time I tried this tea, I was quite enchanted by the milky-creaminess and found myself rather disappointed that it had to end so soon. When I tried it again a few weeks later, I was less impressed with the first few steepings and enjoyed the more floral notes of the later steepings, difficult as they were to extract. I may have just been in a different mood, or maybe the strong milk flavor is the sort one easily burns out on. Maybe future tastings will tell me more.
Overall, this leaves me intrigued enough to seek out and try other milk oolongs; it certainly has an interesting flavor. However, I probably would not order this one again.