They all taste the same!(or seem to)


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They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby ladybean » Jun 12th, '10, 12:23

I've received my package of a few flavored samples(strawberry, raspberry, chocolate) and the chai sampler and I'm rather underwhelmed. Perhaps I'm ruined by bag teas but the flavors seem to just SMELL like their names rather than tasting like them. (For what it's worth I never really put much faith in a 'chocolate' tea because I personally think it goes better in *gasp* coffee).

I've tried all the samples but the masala chai(that's for later), and well everything tastes the same. The bengal chai was different because it's a green tea and I DID try to brew to a lower temp. I realize I might have been 1) using too much tea or 2) steeping too long. I just had some of the chocolate chai and tried to not over steep. I even measured out the water and used a measuring tsp but it didn't turn out to be anything special.

What could I be doing wrong? :oops:
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby kymidwife » Jun 12th, '10, 13:37

I'm not surprised that the strawberry and raspberry taste similar, and are heavier on aroma than on flavored taste. I also am not a big "chocolate in my tea" fan. I may not be much help because I don't drink many flavored teas anymore, but that's what brought me to loose tea in the first place. I do enjoy the chai blends, especially the Thai Chai which has a distinctly different flavor than standard masala chai blends.

I doubt you're doing anything "wrong" although you may need to bump up the leaf amount and the brew time to extract more flavor. What each person likes varies so much, its hard to recommend other flavors. But my own experience is that I came to Adagio enjoying very highly flavored teas. But I have progressed to drinking mostly unflavored teas, and when I want a flavored tea, I want the taste of the tea leaf to shine through and not be overpowered by artificial flavors. To me, many of the teas I used to enjoy now taste very artificial, soapy, perfumy, blech. I much prefer Adagio's flavored teas to most others because I don't get that unpleasant artificial aftertaste, and I can actually taste the tea leaf flavor.

Its a journey. :) Glad to have you with TeaChat.

Sarah
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby kymidwife » Jun 12th, '10, 13:44

Meant to add also... are you adding sweetener and/or milk to your teas? My own experience is that the more I added anything, the less character I found in each tea. I have also mostly progressed to drinking with little or no sweetener, and no milk (I never was a milk-in-tea girl much anyway)... and I enjoy the nuances and appreciate the flavors much more this way.

Coming from a background of southern sweet tea and flavored iced teas, drinking mostly hot, unflavored, unsweetened teas has been a major transition for me... all unintentional, just a natural gravitation as I explored the world of tea.

Sarah
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 12th, '10, 14:07

like kymidwife said do not add sweetener or milk, they´ll mask the flavours and make everything taste the same.

If you´re not doing that the problem is most likely that you´re overbrewing the teas. Honestly most flavoured teas tend to have a pretty bland base which will produce a lot of bitterness if overbrewed which then swamps out the other flavours both from the tea and the added flavouring, especially if you have a low bitter tolerance.
The main thing would be to reduce your steep times. Assuming 1 heaping teaspoon per cup (250ml) it´s flavoured black tea and you´re using boiling water make sure you do not brew over 3 minutes. If it tastes weak brewing that way for 3 minutes increase the leaf you use, not the time. If it still has samey overbrewed black tea taste reduce the brewing time some more.


Also make sure you´re heating water in a kettle, putting the leaves into a pot and pouring the hot water from the kettle into the pot on top of the leaves. Stuff like infuser balls don´t extract the flavour as well.

I´m assuming you ordered from Adagio and didn´t get the teas at a supermarket where they´re likely to be stale.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby ladybean » Jun 12th, '10, 14:41

Oops I didn't mention that yes, the teas are Adagio teas.

Nope, no milk but I have been tasting the teas plain first and then adding a little sugar. Even before the sugar they all taste the same. Except for the thai chai(I like that one!) and green chai.

I will try to use more leaves and brew less but... I'm not feeling the pour the leaves in the pot deal. I use a pouch of muslin fabric I made myself to catch the leaves. I refuse to buy an infuser. I don't want the leaves in my cup. Next time, though, I will put the pouch in the pot and pour the water over it and see if that changes anything.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 12th, '10, 16:42

If you don´t want leaves in your cup the best thing is to pour from the pot through a fine mesh strainer or buy a pot with a strainer built into the spout. A fabric or paper filter will trap some of the essential oils which carry the flavours and any kind of infuser prevents the leaves from opening fully and releasing all the flavours.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby kymidwife » Jun 12th, '10, 16:58

Agreed on the infuser issue. I have a couple of larger English-style pots with no built-in strainer. I don't like infusers, so I put my tea loose in the pot, brew it where it can swirl around freely, and then pour through a stainless steel kitchen strainer into a 2nd pot (prewarmed). I definitely think the tea tastes better without an infuser device of any kind.

Sarah
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby ladybean » Jun 12th, '10, 17:03

entropyembrace wrote:If you don´t want leaves in your cup the best thing is to pour from the pot through a fine mesh strainer or buy a pot with a strainer built into the spout. A fabric or paper filter will trap some of the essential oils which carry the flavours and any kind of infuser prevents the leaves from opening fully and releasing all the flavours.



Aha! The daggone pouch may be the culprit. Aww and I was all happy with having sewn it. Oh well. Later or tomorrow I will try one of the teas I already tried without the pouch and see how that works. And I'll be on the lookout for a pot with a strainer in the spout.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby ladybean » Jun 12th, '10, 17:28

kymidwife wrote:Agreed on the infuser issue. I have a couple of larger English-style pots with no built-in strainer. I don't like infusers, so I put my tea loose in the pot, brew it where it can swirl around freely, and then pour through a stainless steel kitchen strainer into a 2nd pot (prewarmed). I definitely think the tea tastes better without an infuser device of any kind.

Sarah



You know, it just occurred to me, that in order to not 'oversteep' the tea with the leaves loose in the pot I'd need a second pot to keep the tea in while drinking. I'd been stopping the brewing process by just removing the pouch I use. I have perhaps found a 'new' use for my Bodum Assam pot after all! Thank you!
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby kymidwife » Jun 12th, '10, 17:40

Welcome! Keep us posted on how the modifications work for you. I just also wanted to add that I really like Adagio's Signature Blends program for the ability to blend tea leaves with herbals/fruit for a more pronounced and more natural flavor. For example, if I wanted a strawberry tea, I'd blend some tasty black tea like ceylon or mambo, with some strawberry flavored tea, and then add some of the strawberry fruit from the herbal section. You can blend up to 3 teas to make your own. This is the most fun way to find flavors that suit you. Blood orange is a great additive, as is the wild strawberry, the peppermint, and the lemon grass.

After you've been with us for a bit longer and become an "established member", feel free to sign up for the Signature Blends box pass, a fun way to sample other peoples' blend creations.

Sarah
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby ladybean » Jun 12th, '10, 20:51

Well, I've tried leaving the leaves loose in the tea, brewing for less time, etc and still didn't taste any different. Sigh.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 12th, '10, 22:05

It could just be the tea...

Almost all of Adagio´s flavoured black teas use the same ceylon tea as the base, the same goes for most other vendors. The only differences is the essential oils they spray on them. Because of this you get a bit of a strange effect in that unflavoured teas have more variation in flavour. Get the Black Sampler or Black Savant Sampler and you´ll see what I mean. ;)

Even just looking at the pictures you can see there´s a lot of variation in the leaves among unflavoured tea which there isn´t in flavoured tea.

Flavours sampler...the tea leaves all look the same!
http://www.adagio.com/flavors/flavors_s ... 221e0d0c08

Black Sampler...lots of leaf variety :)
http://www.adagio.com/black/black_sampl ... 221e0d0c08

The brewing advice I gave was to try and maximize how much you taste the added flavourings but if that´s not enough maybe you´re just ready to move onto unflavoured tea where there is a lot more variety?
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby Amaikokonut » Jun 12th, '10, 23:20

I vaguely recall someone suggesting that flavored blacks be steeped at a lower temperature (180ish like you would for greens/whites) so that the tea flavor doesn't infuse as much and overwhelm the added flavors. Don't know from personal experience but figured it wouldn't hurt to try.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby ladybean » Jun 13th, '10, 08:36

Well, upon further attempts I have decided that I'd be better off just leaving black tea alone. Nothing I do gets it to brew without a bitter taste/aftertaste. That said, I DO like the rooibos vanilla chai and the bengal green chai so I'll stick to those.

Upon further research I've come to realize that perhaps I'll like the tisanes better than 'real' tea. That's a lot closer to what I'm used to.
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Re: They all taste the same!(or seem to)

Postby kymidwife » Jun 13th, '10, 19:57

I wonder if you might really enjoy the flavored whites... the bitterness/astringency is pretty much absent if brewed properly, the tea flavor is very delicate, and the added flavors really come through.

Sarah
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