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Five Top Teas (Friday Five)

eldanis asked for "Top five teas (mmmm, tea)... dunno if you even like tea, but I sure do."

I do like tea! telophase put me on to Adagio Teas, and that's where I order mine now. (How frustrating - their site seems to be down this morning.) I tend to like straight black teas for the most part. I'm really not fond of added flavoring oils: I like flavoring added with actual bits of spices or whatever. And I'm usually a milk-and-sugar person, at least with black teas.

Fujian Baroque by Adagio - a black tea with a strong floral note

Irish Breakfast by Adagio - and I like to blend this classic blended black tea with the Fujian to make a slightly lighter, more fragrant cup

Masala Chai by Adagio - the right amount of cinnamon flavor, with chunks of ginger and whole cloves

Bigelow's Constant Comment is a classic, and one of the few I drink without milk.

Original Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasonings. This is a bit of nostalgia: they reformulated it about 5 years after it came out, and now it's just another artificially flavored spice tea. (Yeah, the ingredients are natural, but they're poured on with too heavy a hand.)

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
artillie
Aug. 23rd, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, looking at the description of Fujian Baroque on the website now, I want to try it--I've just never ordered from Adagio before, because they're a little above my college student budget. But I may have to make an exception...
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)

You could just buy a few little sampler tins ... and they usually throw in some sort of an extra, too!

jinxaire
Aug. 23rd, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
I love tea, too! I used to like Bengal Spice as well but the last time I bought some, I was overpowered by the flavor. I don't know if I had been accustomed to their old formulation or if it was another casualty of my evolving palate, but I couldn't finish the tea. I've moved on to green teas, anyway.

I started ordering from Adagio once but didn't finish the checkout, and they sent me a $5 gift certificate to use on their site. I never used it, though, because I prefer unflavored green teas and I wasn't impressed with their green tea selection. I like Japanese greens best, my fave being sencha, but I also love genmaicha, hojicha, and fukamushi-cha. I just discovered a sencha at my local Japanese market that has become my new favorite, with a delicious, almost nutty taste. Yum!
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)

I drink green tea when we are at Japanese restaurants, but it's not my preference, so I don't know much about it.

eldanis
Aug. 23rd, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
I agree with artillie - Fujian Baroque sounds lovely! May have to splurge and order some one day. Adagio's site is so fun to browse, with all the pretty pictures and descriptions. I've had their Silver Needle (a white tea), and just based on that, I can vouch for their quality -- though to chime in with jinxaire, they do seem rather Chinese-tea-biased. Which is fine, and they do seem to excel in it; I just wouldn't order any of their Japanese greens. (For example, the photo of their Kukicha befuddles me, as kukicha is just lighty roasted tea twigs - loose, it's brown, and looks like a bunch of little sticks, not green slender leaves like in their picture.)

Incidentally, have you tried their Golden Monkey? It's being very tempting at me at the moment...
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)

IIRC, Golden Monkey has become very pricey. I think I got some in a black tea sampler when I first started ordering from Adagio. I do think it's very good, but not necessarily good enough to buy regularly for a daily fix.

smillaraaq
Aug. 23rd, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
Mmmmm, remind me to taste the Fujian Baroque next time you're making tea! While I do rather enjoy a lot of the flavoring-oil sorts like a classic Earl Grey, I'm a real sucker for floral notes, too.

And I can't remember if I've had Bengal Spice recently -- but I do tend to drink most herbal tisanes ice-cold, and that might mute down the spice-brick-to-the-face efect somewhat since you're not getting that blast of aromatic steam...

(Why do I have no Iroh/tea icons? Waaah!)
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)

Bengal Spice actually has a black tea base. Numi Golden Chai is similar to what Bengal Spice used to be.

Just remind me next time you're over, and you can most certain;y have a cup.

(I made that tea icon especially for this post!)

smillaraaq
Aug. 24th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, hmmm, I don't usually buy non-herbal teas from Celestial -- I must have been thinking of something else with "Spice" in the name. (Mandarin Orange Spice, maybe? I know I've had *something* from them that I liked that was spice-heavy and not black tea...)
chomiji
Aug. 25th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)

Mandarin Orange Spice is a possibility. Bengal Spice is distinctive for the nice tiger on the box - Amy used to call it "Tiger Tea."

smillaraaq
Aug. 25th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
I know just the box art you're talking about -- their packaging is marvelously visually distinctive (don't they have a couple of box paintings done by Kinuko Craft?) And now that I think about it, I can picture the box art for the Mandarin Orange Spice, too. But I think for whatever odd reason, I may not associate the names quite as strongly with the flavors as the art? (Maybe in part because so many of their fruity herbals, which are the about the only thing I buy from them, taste like minor variations on the same base...yummy enough, but not super-distinctive.)
vom_marlowe
Aug. 23rd, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
Omnomnomnom. I love Adagio tea! I love the black teas, but I have to be super-careful because they upset my tummy these days. I really love the Yunnan Noir, which is rich and lovely, but gentle on my stomach. And also Masala Chai. I have a favorite blend of rooibos and Masala Chai that I drink all the time during the winter. Allllll the time. Mmmm, good stuff.

And I did not know that they changed Bengal Spice! I thought I just quit liking it. Huh. Makes me feel better, because I used to love it.
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)

I think I had the Yunnan Noir as well, but it might have been one of the other Yunnan types. Is it malty?

I don't like most of the other brewed herbal things, like rooibos, nearly as well as tea.

Yes, Bengal Spice came out with new packaging and everything 1111New+Improved!!!!. It was quite a while ago, though - I mean, more than a decade.

vom_marlowe
Aug. 24th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
I don't think of Yunnan Noir as malty, more as creamy, smooth, not-bitter. It's a bit smoky/cocoa.

I fell in love with Bengal Spice in college, then couldn't find it for many years after, and when I tried it again, I thought it was yucko. So more than a decade is about right! (Fifteen years ago? Gosh, I think maybe so. Geez, I feel old.)
lady_ganesh
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
Adagio looks so good but I love the instant gratification of getting tea at the store.
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 11:17 am (UTC)

And I like getting packages in the mail! Adagio usually throws in something extra - a mini-tin of something else, a flowering teabag - so opening the box is especially fun.

lady_ganesh
Aug. 26th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
That does sound fun!
cicer
Aug. 24th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh, I just received your post card today! So sorry I didn't respond sooner. We've been having an issue with getting out mail. (We went on vacation and had it forwarded to where we were staying, but the post office lost a bunch of it, and then forgot to forward it back to our house. Ack.)

Thank you for the card! It's lovely, and I've tacked it up on my bulletin board. :)
chomiji
Aug. 24th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC)

Wow, that postcard was in transit for like, 6 weeks!

cicer
Aug. 25th, 2010 09:35 am (UTC)
I think it was probably lurking around my local post office for most of that time! We're actually pretty sure that a couple of piece of mail have been lost in the shuffle between our home and where we were vacationing, so I'm glad the post card eventually found its way to me!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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