382 Tasting Notes
So I was directed to the Upton Tea site, recently, where, noticing that they have $1 samples and possessing no self-control, I promptly bought something like 15 different samples of tea. This is the first of them that I’ve tried and I really like the blend. Just the right amount of smoky. I’m not that into smoky teas so not exactly something I’ll be drinking on a daily basis, but certainly a nice break from the norm.
Ummm… what’s self control??? lol! I also just had to say I’m quite a bit like you in my tea drinking based on your last paragraph- although I think I probably add milk to my chai more often than you do. My only other exception is Numi’s chocolate pu erh… but that’s pretty much chai like cuz it has cinnamon and nutmeg.
Hmm, the entire point, for me, of adding milk to chai is to take the sharpness off the taste of the spices. Since that sounds like what you’re doing with the chocolate pu erh, I declare your milk usage valid! (and I’m sure you deeply care about my validation :D )
Actually not really. I just do it cuz it tastes good. The spices are way too light in the Chocolate Pu Erh to be anywhere close to sharp. It just depends if I want a milky texture or not, and if I’ve had my one serving of milk per day. (Even if I drank chai all day I’d only use a total of 1 cup of milk). A mark of a good chai (and a good tea in general) for me is that it could always be drank clean.
Amen to that last sentence!
And now, I quietly freak out because looking at your tealog has enlightened me to the fact that there exist such things as beer tea and bacon tea.
Oh yes… and their goooood! I’m dying for a vegetarian to try the bacon tea (all ingredients are vegan).
They’re terrible is what they are! I have no idea where I’m going to put all those samples – my tea cabinet is already full >.< Also: afternoon blend in the morning? madness!
I am, I freely admit, a creature of habit. I like to start my day off with a nice strong cup of black tea. Usually this would be Earl Gray, but, ever since I found the European Import store in town, I have alternated between Earl Gray and Czar Nikolas II, or Cesarz Mikolaj, as we call it at home. I love this tea for how lightly flavored it is (it could almost pass for just a straight black tea), and for the fact that the package refuses to divulge what the flavor IS, with the ingredients saying simply: “tea, spices.” That is the kind of passive aggressive contrariness I can really get behind.
It also brews up dark. Really dark. Probably since, being in the Russian style, it is meant for use in a samovar, where a little of it is meant to go a long way. Technically, I suppose that means I’m Doing It Wrong, and I DO cut it with some straight black tea later on in the day, but I like my tea sludge-tastic in the morning. Wakes me right up.
I will freely admit to not being much of a green tea connoisseur. I like to drink it every so often, but I can’t really tell the difference between specific kinds of non-flavored green teas (at least not the way I would be able to with black tea). Still, this is a nice green, delicate, not too grassy. I don’t know that I’d be able to recognize it out of a line up, though.
The trick to sorting out greens is to start broad, and then get more precise within each broad area. Start with Japanese and Chinese (ignoring anything else as “fringe” for the short term). By and large, the Japanese really only do green tea one way, with a huge spectrum of quality available within that style. It is shade grown and steamed, and thus vividly green both in the leaf and the cup, and tends to be very vegetal in flavor, but usually in a good way. It is also one of the highest caffeine content teas, because the stress of shade growing causes the plant to produce more caffeine (which the plant uses as a pesticide, actually). Chinese can then be divided into roasted and unroasted, etc.
I’ve had a sore throat for the past couple of days and had totally forgotten until today that I had a box of this! I’ve been drinking this when I’m sick since I was a child, so even aside from its actual effectiveness, I find the taste quite comforting. Of course, the fact that it IS quite effective is a happy bonus!
Like others, I’m not a huge fan of licorice, but I don’t mind it in this case, it goes well with the other flavors, and the sweet note that it adds to the taste was always a nice counterpoint to the miserableness of being sick as a child. Honestly, before I started making it myself, I used to think that my mother sweetened it to make me drink it. But no! Just naturally sweet.
When a sampler of this arrived with a shipment that happened to fall close to my birthday, my reaction was two-fold: I thought it was very cute of Adagio, of course, but the tea’s description made me quite skeptical of it as well. Vanilla, cream, caramel AND sugar sprinkles? There was no way this wouldn’t be completely overpowering, cloying, and too sweet. (The older I get, the less sweetness I seem to be able to tolerate – and I’m only in my mid-20s! By 50, my diet will probably consist solely of pickles)
In any case, imagine my surprise when I tried this and it wasn’t overpowering at all! In fact, the flavors seem very nicely balanced, while still being faint enough for the tea to actually taste like tea. Today I’m having it with breakfast – which wasn’t a good idea since the cinnamon in my oatmeal has managed to completely eclipse the entire flavor of the tea. Ah well, lesson learned.
The pomegranate flavor is very subtle, which is good because it’s not like green tea has hte strongest flavor in the world. Someone on the adagio website mentioned to make sure that you get a seed in with the leaves when you brew it, which is good advice.
Really long steeping time because I got distracted.
Thai Chai has the dubious distinction of being the only tea/tea-like thing that I will drink with milk. Although it is rice milk so I pretend it does not count. I didn’t steep it for very long because I prefer the flavor to be on the weak side as it makes the coconut flavor (which I am not a huge fan of) recede a lot.
I rarely add dairy to any teas, either. Earl gray and chai are the exceptions.
I’ve found almond milk to be a great choice for chai because you can boil it without worrying about scalding the dairy fat as you would real milk.
Earl Gray, really? That’s one of the teas it would not even occur to me to add milk to, but it can definitely be excellent for smoothing out a spicy chai. I’ve tried almond milk before too – the flavor works really well with chai, in addition to it’s other advantages. Rice milk just happened to be on sale the last time I was at the grocery store.
Earl Gray is a pretty traditional “milk & sweetener” tea, I think… unless I’ve been huffing paint fumes, again…
The cinnamon totally overpowers the other tastes in this tea, which may actually be fortunate since the cinnamon/apple taste does not, from what little I can get of the actual rooibos taste, match it very well – which could account for it tasting artificial. Something of a disappointment, honestly.