Posted by: dan | May 11, 2009

bitter teas

jasmineheader(title with apologies to The Magnetic Fields)

Dan: I’m starting this review with a bit of a bias. I wasn’t much of a fan of the Jasmine Pearls tea we tried as part of Jing’s sampler set, and as this is another green Jasmine tea, I’m not exactly jumping with anticipation when it comes to trying the adagio version. Nevertheless, it’s in my pile of teas to review (thanks, Ben), so review it I must. How bad can it be?

The leaves seem rather crushed and small

The leaves seem rather crushed and small

It’s not a great start. Ripping the packet open to find the teabag enclosed is a strong reminder of my previous experience. Even with my particularly pollen-blocked nose, I got a huge whiff of jasmine from the second I started tearing the packet open. I don’t find it a highly pleasant scent, though there is a sweetness to it that is intriguing. This strong smell roars up again when you pour the water on to the bag, even though it is not too hot. It is a green tea, after all.

So does the taste improve matters any? In a short answer: no. The long answer is a bit more convoluted, so stick with me here. At first, the initial taste is not as bad as I had hoped, in fact, it seemed a lot better than Jing’s Jasmine Pearls. There is a powerful taste of jasmine, but it has a slightly honeyed undertone to it. A little sweet, and quite a nice flavour.

Lots of Jasmine

Lots of Jasmine

And then the second wave hit me. A horrific, bitter taste that left me grimacing and gasping for something to remove the unpalatable, rough taste from my mouth as soon as possible. That second flavour smacks you quickly, and hard. And then, just as it leaves you reeling, it brings in the third wave. The aftertaste is one of the initial sweetness, but with a little less of the jasmine, which is quite pleasing, but it’s not enough to strip the bitterness away.

Quite simply, I cannot drink this. It’s disgusting, horrifyingly bitter and thoroughly unenjoyable. I know I started this review by saying I was biased, but even if I hadn’t been, I would be as condemning of it. I just cannot stand the taste of it. I’ve had three sips, and I feel a little sick. The smell and the taste is just not one I can handle. But let’s flip this on it’s head for a second. Let’s suppose you love jasmine tea. If you’ve tried your jasmine teas, and you’re a fan, by all means give this one a shot. Just because I can’t stand it doesn’t mean you won’t either. A jasmine tea fan will probably adore adagio’s offering. I don’t.

Dan was (briefly) drinking adagio’s green Jasmine tea, available at ¬£4.99 for 15 teabags.



  1. Hi Dan,

    Interesting to see your reaction to Jasmine teas. I think you might be infusing the teas a little long or using too many pearls as you shouldn’t get any bitterness either with ours or I guess Adagio’s offering. It should be light and fragrant and refreshing. I have on occasion left some Jasmine tea for too long and I know the bitter taste you’re experiencing and it’s definitely not pleasant. Anyway hope you can have more success with other Jasmines in the future.


    David (JING Tea)

    • That’s certainly possible, though I’m fairly certain I didn’t brew it for very long. As with most of adagio’s bags though, it was fairly well full of leaves, so perhaps it was the quantity that led to such a strong, bitter taste. I think I have some more Jasmine tea hanging around somewhere, so I shall try that and see how it compares. So far Jing’s pearls were the best, but I doubt Jasmine is a tea for me, really.

      • I think there’s an oolong in the Jing sampler set which when I tried it had hints of jasmine – perhaps we should do a review of that one?

        • We’ve got to do some Blooming teas at some point, and one of those is a Jasmine. I think I have a tin of adagio’s Jasmine #12 to review too. Damn Jasmine.

  2. Not everyone likes Jasmine, and, in fact, I’d probably say that florals can be the most difficult to match to a palate. So keep in mind that you may just not like this particular flower.

    That said, florals, particularly Jasmine also get really bitter, really quick. Better to understeep than oversteep, IMHO. Work with the tea and see how precise you can get with water temp and infusion time.

    Also, keep in mind that many Jasmine teas are scented with oils, rather than fresh Jasmine blossoms, and oils can be somewhat unstable. Lots of factors to consider when evaluating a Jasmine tea.

    • Thanks for the extra info! Perhaps I have been too quick to dismiss this tea. I will try to reduce brewing time for the next Jasmine review. I will hopefully get to try a tea with rose buds at some point, so that could be interesting!

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