1226 Tasting Notes
This was one of the first teas from Adagio that I got, and honestly, my geekiness begged me to get this one. River is one of my favorite characters although they did not develop her as fully as some of the others. There were facets of her personality that I could connect with oddly enough, and I admit that I enjoyed the crap out of how she fought the Reavers in Serenity.
Anyway, I got it last year as a sample for while I was up at school. I have had green and black blends before, and they are a hit or miss for me. Blending black and green normally result in a really mellowed out tasting black tea with the crisp green in the back ground, sometimes being too weak, or nicely balanced out. This one I had to be careful with because the black base is a cream Earl Grey, so I made sure to have the exact same amount of green tea, black tea, and rose petals in every cup. It turned out to be one of the nicer green and black blends after all. I am also really glad that distributed the rose petals in the detail that I did, because I would have not otherwise tasted them as a complimentary accent.
With that said, it’s a good tea, but not great. I am glad that I sampled this instead of getting a full tin. The tin for this specific one is also a delight to have, which is also one of the reasons why Adagio is so expensive: it’s for the dang tins. Worth a try, but not something I highly recommend. I honestly couldn’t imagine what the other adagios taste like: thank heavens I was picky and chose the blended ones.
Flavors: Bergamot, Flowers, Malt, Rose
Oddly enough, I normally like green chais just a little more than the blacks on occasion. I got this at one of the coffee shops I used to go to in East Lansing (now closed, which greatly irks me!) and I would get it with steamed almond milk. It is really good with that combo. I could see why it might be better with regular milk, because this latte mix is very sweet, gingery, and green. Yet that might depend on preference.
This is the chai for green tea lovers, especially green tea with some sort of cream and sweetener. The biggest drawback is how sweet it is, and possibly the ingredients for people who want to eat cleaner.
This is not a loose leaf tea, it’s a Tea concentrate used for lattes. I got the bottled version of this and it greatly satisfied me. I tasted both the black tea and the espresso, with the spices liberally dominating the body. It’s almost like a spicy, pumpkin pie that you decide to have with coffee on the morning after thanks giving. I’m not usually a chai fan, but I like this one more because of the coffee. This is good hot or cold. As for the concentrate, you blend a small amount, whether be a few taplespoons or a quarter of a cup, with your milk of choice.
I’d recommend this more for a substitute to Starbucks bottles if you get any tired of those. Otherwise, it’s a coffee drinkers tea, and a latte coffee drinker at that. Also not something you’d go off for in a thorough taste evaluation.
I am not a huge fan of chamomile, but I really like sleepy time teas from Celestial. Mom found this on discount at Big Lots, and got some for her and my brother. I’m drinking some it it was flavored just right. Grape, spearmint, blackberry, and herbaceous leafs are the taste, and the smell. The blackberry is blended as a background, and it certainly moves the grape along. It does not need any sweetener whatsoever.
Some people might be offended by the ingredients that include things like lecithen, especially with the inconsistent health risks of soy. But again, it tastes good, and it’s helping me sleep. It’s also satisfying my tea cravings, which are BAD and I’m resisting the urge to get some oolong or black tea right now…
Flavors: Blackberry, Grapes, Spearmint
Thank you Brenden for this sample! I liked this one WAAAAAY more than North Winds. North Winds is much lighter as a Gongfu, and though I am actually starting to prefer this method of black tea brewing, there were times where I had to do it western because I was off by a few grams and the particular leaf wasn’t as strong. I like my dark teas bold, but complex and full of flavor. That’s why I typically enjoy Irish Breakfast more than say English Breakfast because it’s got more umph. Along the same parallel, the Aliashan is bolder, and more complex to me. I’m getting all of the tasting notes that are on here.
Toasted, whole grain bread is the best, first comparison I get, coupled with a malt like red wine aftertaste. Caramelized plum, though, is what this tea fully tastes like, and what I get the most. Again, it’s a very complex black tea that is sturdy though done Gongfu. I actually did the first steep in ten seconds which is fairly impressive, and it certainly filled my cup. A part of me even prefers it to the Golden Bud Dian Cong. I wonder what it would taste like as the Jabberwocky or Cocoa Amore. I also drank this as soon as I finished Rivendell, and this is the Aragorn to Rivendell’s Arwen.
This may be a more medium black tea, but it is a man’s tea, dang it (so wish I could use the full profanity)! For black tea lovers and would be the best introduction to an Ailoashan black for a newbie. If you want something robust with three dimensions, this is the tea to try.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Red Wine
This tea is the reason why I went over budget. This is why I am going to be much more careful with my tea selection. And this tea is important to me. I was just starting to get into Tie Guan Yin’s and oolongs became my new obsession. I wondered if there were any that were Lord of the Rings themed, and low and behold, I find an entire community devoted to all things tea, and the very first review in my sight was Rivendell. This is the tea that introduced me to Steepster, and the oolong that I was determined to try. Like many have said before, it’s named Rivendell, and it has to deliver the promise of a cup from Middle Earth. I waited over a year. I missed some times it was back in stock. Now, I have it.
Does it deliver on the hype? Not quite, but almost. I’m sorry, but it just didn’t. The Tie Guan Yin from Mandala tasted very similar to this, and it is significantly cheaper-cheaper by seven dollars per ounce. It has the same notes, nuances, and aroma in the first steep. I may have gotten lucky with the Mandala sample, being a spring harvest one, and being from a good year. I understand that the majority of the cost is because of the quality of Tie Guan Yin, which can be one of the most expensive teas in the world, and the quality of the Tahitian vanilla bean and cedar leaves. On top of those huge expenses, this product is in very little supply, and there is a tremendous demand for it as clearly apparent on this very site and the frequent times that it is out of stock. Yet the woodsy cedar and vanilla notes are ones that can be found in a high quality Tie Guan Yin-the later steeps are the more complex ones that allow this tea to be different from others. Nevertheless, the price remains as my main point of criticism.
Otherwise, it certainly is a drink that Lord Elrond would offer. It is very Elvish, smelling and tasting like described. The Vanilla and Cedar are the dominant scents and flavors in the tea, with the Tie Guan Yin’s natural orchid, creamy sweetness blending both scent and flavor together. Brenden’s description if pretty accurate. Again, Cedar and Vanilla are immediate. Lilac, or orchid, takes the previous two together and grinds them both with minerals. Caramel is more in the smell. Cherry and chocolate are approximately there, but you really have to search for them. The last three or two steeps really brings out the cherry, and the final one is like pine nut and mint, or menthol. It is a very light tea, and like any Tie Guan Yin, the taste is delicate but distinct. The most impressive aspect of this tea is that it is able to yield the same floral relish of a Gongfu in five western style brewed cups, which partially staves off the price in reusability. I actually let the later steeps soak in for 20-45 seconds more than recommended and got more flavor though this is western.
I thoroughly enjoy this tea. If it weren’t for the incredible price, this tea would have probably been one of the best I’ve had, and one of my favorites. I am very glad that I have it and pretty satisfied that I do, because the quest to have it finally ended in full circle, and it’s a good cup. This is the tea I would have given a 100 to, and this is my tea 100, the hundredth cup I’ve reviewed, the first cup that I saw on this site.
Now, for the audience that this tea aims for. You have to be a fan of Tolkien to fully enjoy this tea, or a huge fan of Tie Guan Yin oolongs and lighter teas. This is the must try tea for you guys, and probably no one else. Because the taste is so delicate, and so specific to Rivendell, a person who prefers stronger teas, someone who has no idea who Tolkien is, or someone who is newer to the over active imagination that is tea tasting would be severely underwhelmed. And if you are in a rush, you cannot possibly savor this tea. You’ll be reminded of the stark reality that you are just drinking a flowery glass of water. You have to slow yourself down, and travel to Middle Earth. You must let go, and allow yourself to escape.
Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Creamy, Floral, Mint, Orchid, Rainforest, Vanilla, Vegetal
It’s a bagged Tie Guan Yin…but actually good and taste pretty close to some loose leaf versions of the tea. I was looking for bagged Oolongs that I could resort to for school (yay, I am poor college student!). And I might actually pick this one considering that it was only two bucks and organic. Now for the actual taste:
It is a lighter, greener Oolong that definitely has the floral taste of an oolong-it’s fairly close to Harney and Sons Pomegranate Ooloong, but more vegetal and again floral in taste. It’s even a little sweet and slightly creamy hints to it, though they are minimal and subtle. The leaf quality is slightly better than what you would expect from a bag, but it’s still full in taste, though not as good as a loose leaf. However, this would be a pretty good introduction to Tie Guan Yin because it indeed tastes like one, and is one. I might settle for this one for bagged tea, but a part of me wants to see if there are any better ones. I think I might stay put with this one.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Orchid, Vegetal
So much better since I added more leaves. Last time, I poured two tea spoons, but they were far from being full. I thought that since the leaves are so stringy for this tea that they would open up bigger, but I was wrong on that front. I used a heaping half of a tablespoon, almost a full one really, and it tasted way better.
Like I said in the previous review, North Winds is the best suited name for this tea. It smells exactly like the wind in Northern Michigan, even the woods here in Port Huron closer to Canada and the Lake. Wood, maple, cocoa, and campfire is what I personally smell when I take a single whiff of this. Last time I drank it, I tasted a cocoa, roasted black tea that was not that different from a Keemum. This time, with more leaves, there is so much more flavor. The taste is the same as the rustic aroma, being a pure breakfast blend having a simpler, yet more genuine quality than a usual English Breakfast. It’s almost like a less astringent, smoother version of an Irish Breakfast. I am glad that I decided to try this one again, and getting more out of it. My only criticism is the expense, as there are better teas that are near the same price on Whispering Pines website. Also, my sights are honed in on Golden Orchid when it comes back in stock, so I am anticipating what this particular tea base will be like with a vanilla accent. North Winds still needs another note to really fill the cup to its impressive potential, and vanilla might be the finishing note to crescendo it to greater heights.
Pompous hyperbole aside, a lot of people would like it. Breakfast tea, southern sweet iced tea, and European black tea lovers would enjoy it. Though it’s slightly better Gonfu, a Chinese brewing method, it’s more reminiscent of a European drink to me. Newbies might require cream and sugar anyway, but it by no means tastes bad with the additives. I just prefer drinking my tea without sweetener.
Flavors: Campfire, Cocoa, Malt, Wood