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Recent Tasting Notes
Samurai Travelling Tea Box – Tea #47
Finished off the cute little tin of this one yesterday, actually steeped up as a big old teapot of tea! It has been a looonnggg time since I last made a Western pot of tea but, as I mentioned in a tasting note I posted during the freeze, a good friend of mine here in MTL and I are starting a podcast all about tea and different kinds of geeky fandoms and our instagram account for the podcast “went live” earlier this week so I was feeling especially inspired to pull out some of my nerdier teaware and brew this Star Wars tea in a Star Wars themed teapot!
I think I’ve probably tried the teas from Adagio that compose this blend in at least a dozen, if not more, variants through other fandom blends – they don’t taste bad but the flavour is so distinctly “sweet, nutty and brown” (ie. chocolate/caramel and generic) that no matter what combination they seem to be used in with other teas they all sort of taste the same. In particular, this combo really reminds me of another fandom tea that I like a lot – Apache Tracker, from the Welcome to Nightvale sampler.
As for our podcast, I’m really excited about it! When we get closer to releasing episodes, I’m going to make a discussion post for it with more details and a longer overview of what it’ll be about – but the tldr is that it’s a podcast exploring different types of fandoms and the teas we (my friend Marika and I) think that they go well with! Each week, we’ll look at a new fandom and a specific “piece of content” pertaining to it and the discussion will be about our experiences with this fandom, first impressions, anything relating to the content we reviewed that really stuck out to us as meaningful and the tea we paired with it and why! It’ll be a mix of things that we know inside and out, than one of us is sharing with the other, and that we’re both experiencing for the fist time!
I hope people will enjoy it, but regardless it’s just going to be great to geek out with one another and learn about some new things!
I never order Adagio’s fan blends because they’re super overpriced for the amount of tea you get, but I’m certainly happy to try one in the tea box! The main flavor here is a tasty nuttiness – maybe hazelnut? You can also taste the black base, which is pretty soft and nice. It’s not super chocolatey despite all the chocolate ingredients. I actually quite enjoyed this blend, but I’d probably be more likely to buy their mocha nut mate since that seems to be the most prominent component of this tea, and it would be way cheaper. The second steep was still very strong and delicious. I had that steep with milk, and I like it both ways very much.
‘Samurai’ Traveling Teabox – Tea #1
Thanks so much for the teabox starter, SkySamurai! I’m trying the teas now on it’s first stop. Signups still open in the forums! Such rarities here, and some tea shops I’ve never even heard of. That’s always good. On to the first tea…I usually like Adagio blends, and this one sounds like a divine combination, but overall the flavor is mostly flat to me. Hardly any chocolate or caramel or hazelnut or vanilla… I mean, those flavors in theory sound amazing, but maybe they all cancelled each other out and I’m really only tasting roasted yerba mate. What a shame. It’s certainly BROWN in color anyway. Chewbacca brown. I think it’s Chewbacca on the tin? I don’t know (shh.. I only saw the first three Star Wars movies.)
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoon for a full mug // 7 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
‘Samurai’ Traveling Teabox – Tea #2
I’ll write #2 here because technically a hot chocolate shouldn’t be listed on Steepster. It’s Sipology’s Candy Orange Hot Chocolate. It sounded odd until I realized it is supposed to be one of those chocolate oranges. I’m a fan of those chocolate oranges. Yum. The hot chocolate itself is smooth and rich without being too sugary. Just how I like it. I was tasting hints of what should be orange. Hints but what was there was accurate to chocolate orange. It’s good! I definitely didn’t use how much they suggested on the package (to keep the sugar in check). About a spoon and a half of mix for a mug of milk. Never heard of this shop before. rating would be 93
Wow, I didn’t realize I hadn’t reviewed this yet. I’ve had this since Christmas. This one smells lovely in bag, but I was concerned with the large number of apple pieces in it. I haven’t had much luck with Adagio’s Fruit Tisanes in the past, so I fear this won’t be much better.
Brewed Western style, 2 heaping teaspoons for 12 oz, 6 minutes at 212 F.
Taste plain is ok. It suffers much like the usual fruit blends that it isn’t too nice on its own.
Added a Single Splenda, and the taste greatly improves. The sweetness makes the flavors pop, and even brings out a bit of spiciness. I’m getting Apple, Rose Hips, Berry Blend, Hibi, and a lovely underlying spice mixture that very much improves the fruitiness of the tisane. This one is actually not too bad. It’s not my favorite, but I would drink this again. I suppose I can recommend it. But only if you add sweetener to it. It’s just MEH on its own.
Flavors: Apple, Berry, Hibiscus, Rosehips, Spices, Tart
I feel like this was definitely meant to replicate one of Teavana’s blend post closure. It feels like a very Teavana kind of profile & I swear I remember a Teavana blend with this exact name…
I wanted to like this because I do really enjoy the presence of coconut in chai blends and I also like white tea as a chai base (when done well) but I felt like I lost everything in this mix except for the spices. Which aren’t my thing. We all know that they aren’t my thing. And I don’t just mean that I lost the coconut; but the lemongrass/pineapple too.
Just a muddy, over complicated sort of profile IMO.
Ok here goes another Chai. I didn’t previously like the combo of Lemongrass and Coconut, so we shall see how this turns out.
Brewed into a latte, it’s very subtle and restrained. The spice is strong enough that I like it and it isn’t completely obliterated by the milk. However it isn’t overpowering either. I’m getting cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and all of the good warming spices. The Coconut and Lemongrass are not nearly as pronounced in this so it isn’t as jarring. I actually like this. It’s really good. There’s a little bit of mouth tingle from the spices. All in all, much better than the thai chai I believe.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Spices
This is a fruit blend, and I was expecting it to be the usual hibi-heavy affair that I experienced with most Adagio fruit tisanes back when I first tried them. In actual fact, that’s not the case. While there is hibiscus in this blend, it’s actually really subtle, and not heavy-handed/overdone at all. I first felt the happiness when I realised it hadn’t turned bright pink/red almost immediately; the packet suggests a 10 minute brew time, I gave it 5-6, and it was still a pale orange.
There’s an inevitable downside to this, which is that I couldn’t actually get this one to taste of very much at all. There’s a faint spiced apple kind of vibe going on, but very little else. I think I’ll need to experiment a lot more with this before I find a happy place with it – I’m pretty sure it has the potential to be good, if only I can work out how to release it…
Sipdown no. 8 of 2018 (no. 364 total). Sample tin.
This is a backlog from two days ago while the site was down.
I sipped this one down over the course of several days, Western style. This was my last Adagio oolong sample. Now all that is left is one black tea sample, which I have been hoarding and must now make an effort to de-hoard.
Another mystery Adagio oolong from my sample set of years ago. There’s a green tea with the same name on Steepster, but I had to scour the internet to find Adagio’s description of the oolong (which I found on Amazon). It’s confusing, made worse by the fact that the pearls look just like the picture given for the green tea version.
I tried it in the gaiwan with short steeps after rinsing.
If you’ve read my notes in the past, you know I love jasmine in tea, and so I was fully expecting to love this one, too.
Steep 1, 15 sec. Pearls are still tightly wound. Aroma is a light jasmine, tea a pale yellow and clear. Aromatic tea, with a cooling sensation on the upper palate and a silky mouthfeel that becomes clean in the aftertaste.
Steep 2, 20 sec. Pearls are beginning to unfurl. Aroma about the same, tea a deeper yellow with a pink tinge. Aroma is a single floral note this time; in the first steep it was harder to pin down. I’m not noticing the silk in the mouthfeel this time, but the cooling remains. The flavor is jasmine, jasmine, jasmine. I’m trying to taste the tea.There’s a sugary, floral smell in the cup once the tea is gone.
Steep 3, 25 sec. Leaves have completely unfurled, filling the gaiwan. They’re a sort of olive green. The aroma is not as strong this time, though the floral note is still paramount. Same with the flavor. The cooling quality is barely there, and the silk is gone from the mouthfeel. There’s a sort of drying effect happening now.
Steep 4, 30 sec. Still floral, but not really evolving in aroma and flavor. More drying. A tiny bit of bitterness in the finish.
Steep 5, 35 sec. It’s done. It was probably done on steep 3.
If it wasn’t for the fact this is jasmine and I love jasmine, I’d consider this average at best. I enjoyed the jasmine, though. Since I didn’t feel the tea gained much through multiple steeps, I expect I’ll sip this down western style — perhaps as a take it to work tea to mix up the greens.
Very floral blend with strong chamomile flavor. Peppermint takes to the background, leaving only its cooling properties. Ends with subtle vanilla. In my personal experience, this is quite bitter when warm, but sweet when it’s cool. My advice is to serve it cool (but not cold) with a bit of honey. Kind of tastes like garbage on the second brew. It’s good for people who like herbal tea (especially chamomile and/or mint), but wasn’t what I was looking for.
Flavors: Floral, Peppermint, Vanilla
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Flavors: Floral, Peppermint
The dry leaves had a grassy aroma to me but once they were hit with hot water that changed to that spinachy smell.
I did several infusions. The first was roughly 7 seconds and the subsequent ones were 10-15 seconds. The flavor was light and refreshing though there was a bit of astringency at the finish trying to dry my mouth out but not horribly There weren’t a lot of subtleties I could taste here. If I hadn’t known it was an oolong I’d have guessed it was a green tea. That probably says more about my inexperience than it does about the tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Spinach