Adagio Teas

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Recent Tasting Notes

62
drank English Breakfast by Adagio Teas
519 tasting notes

Blended with Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger (2 bags) again. This time I extended the brewing time by just a little, and used 11 teaspoons instead of 9. I had hoped to give the tea a stronger flavor, and it worked. I added sugar and cold water, eyeballing the amounts, and now it’s cooling in my fridge. My ingenuiTea is half-full of leaves when I’m done.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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62
drank English Breakfast by Adagio Teas
519 tasting notes

Blended 9 teaspoons of this plus two bags of Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger. Made 2 quarts of delicious chilled raspberry tea. I will definitely do this again. I bet this kind of English Breakfast blends well with lots of different flavors.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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62
drank English Breakfast by Adagio Teas
519 tasting notes

Very standard, but good. I find that brewing it with a little more than a teaspoon makes it more flavorful, but not bitter. Right now I’ve got a hot cup of it, sweetened with three packs of Sugar In The Raw because that’s how we do it in the deep south, dammit! Actually, I think it’s probably just a bad habit of mine. Anyway, I like this tea a lot. It would be good to keep around for everyday pots.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Green Chai by Adagio Teas
110 tasting notes

I tried this again, steeping it longer and at a lower temperature. This time, the spice is mellower, and the tea flavor shines through a bit better. It definitely upped the yummy factor a lot.

Dang. This is not making my next tea order any smaller.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Green Chai by Adagio Teas
110 tasting notes

One thing Adagio does well is their chai blends – the spice is always rich and well balanced. This green tea is not my favorite of their chai tea blends, because they are all awfully good, but it is well worth drinking.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Auggy

I do love their chai blends but I’ve never had a green chai before. How do you prepare it? I would think doing it the same way as their black chai blends the green would get bitter?

Cynthia Carter

I actually prepared this with boiling water, figuring that a lower temperature would not extract the spices as well. I may try it again at a lower temperature and for a longer steep, to see how that affects the flavor.

takgoti

I’d never even heard of a green chai before. I’m very curious to see what your results are from shifting the parameters around.

Unless you already have and I just haven’t seen it because I have a lot of catching up to do. [If that’s the case, ignore me.]

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75
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
1611 tasting notes

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75
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
1611 tasting notes

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75
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
1611 tasting notes

Felt like I should bust out with the pumpkin spice today. Steeped for 4 minutes. I definitely taste the spice, which went well with some milk and sugar. Not much pumpkin, but this tea was still delightful to drink this morning.

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77
drank Kai Hua Crescendo by Adagio Teas
113 tasting notes

This has some good body to it. Not overwhelmingly so, but not so light that you don’t notice the flavors. The color is really light for a green and given it’s delicacy, I agree with everyone else that this is a green bordering on a white. Very vegetal, grassy, a little earthy/heavy flavor. Some buttery sweetness on the nose and just when it hits your tongue. I’m getting just a tad of bitterness toward the end, but I think that’s because I got the bottom of the pot. For not being such a fan of greens, this is a good one.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Kai Hua Crescendo by Adagio Teas
113 tasting notes

Very nice, especially because I don’t usually go for the greens. Good vegetal flavor, not too grassy/earthy or bitter. Light and airy with a touch of sweetness. The brew is surprisingly light in color, just a hint of green (unless you let it sit in the pot too long :) ). I think you green and non-green lovers might like this one.

Jane Quigley

I just got a sample of this – I’m going to try it tomorrow.

Jason

I saw in your tealog that you’ve had some teas from Subtle Tea. Is that the one on Madison and 30th in NYC? Do you go there often?

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60
drank Lapsang Souchong by Adagio Teas
224 tasting notes

I’ve been waiting for another “Be Brave” day to try Lapsang Souchong. I like the salty, smoky way it smells dry but I have a hard time seeing it as a tea. I can picture using it as a marinade over seitan or tofu and I may try that at a later point.

I brewed it light with less leaves than I normally do and for less time, just 3:30 minutes. (It smelled so strong in the sample, I couldn’t imagine doing my normal kamikaze tea routine.)

It brews up into a light honey colored amber, though I’m sure that if i brewed it for four or five minutes it would be darker. It has a campfire smell that is reminiscent of smoked food, as someone said it smells like bacon or smoked meats. It has a light sharpness in the smoky taste. I can definitely see using this tea in cooking, especially to soak seitan or tofu in. I don’t mind it too much as a tea drink, either. Though I put it in the same category as drinking pickle juice: something fun and strange to do to wake up my taste buds, but not an everyday quaff.

Jillian

I liken it to liquid BBQ. It’s just too strong and too smokey for me to drink it plain so I prefere it blended with other teas like in Russian Caravan.

Carolyn

It does have a sort of liquid BBQ taste. I was even thinking that a tea BBQ sauce might be an interesting use.

Tyler

That is such a good idea to use this tea in cooking. Lapsang Souchong reminds me of Worcestershire sauce. I wonder how it would actually taste in say a jerky or baked beans. Thanks for the idea!

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98

Mmmmm, Darjeeling!

This has a lighter, more delicate flavor than Darjeeling No. 22. I still like 22 better, but I wouldn’t say no if someone offered me a cup of this tea. Lightly sweet, with a faintly grassy taste. This tea is very coarse in texture, so it pays to add a larger volume when I steep.

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85
drank White Monkey by Adagio Teas
8 tasting notes

A great tea. Pretty subtle, but definitely sweet.

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34
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
104 tasting notes

Revisiting this tea, and still not impressed. The spice does add to the flavor, but it overpowers the pumpkin, and you just end up with a spicy black tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

Maybe the spices infuse into the water faster than the tea leaves? 5 1/2 min seems a bit long to me for my personal tastes. Maybe try 200-210 degrees (I don’t completely boil my water cuz it kills the health benefits) for 4-5 min. Hopefully that’ll give you a more even flavor profile. I’ve noticed that over steeping can actually produce a duller, flatter flavor- this is really common w/ Adagio’s whites. Let me know!:)

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34
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
104 tasting notes

Steeped for longer today, and still didn’t get the flavor I was looking for. Has a great aroma, but that just doesn’t transfer to the taste, and you end up with a bland (and when over-steeped, bitter) taste with a bit of spice and no pumpkin. If you’re looking for a tea that tastes like you’re drinking a pumpkin pie, then this isn’t it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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34
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
104 tasting notes

Good, but not great. Wanted something special out of the Pumpkin Spice tea, but the pumpkin smell is much stronger than the taste, and it ends up being a pretty normal cup of black tea with a slight hint of pumpkin and spice. Maybe bump up the steep time and add milk? As suggested though, this was not a winner.

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8
drank Dragonwell by Adagio Teas
260 tasting notes

Right. I think I’ve been entirely spoiled by the phenomenal nature of Dream About Tea’s Dragonwell Spring, but this tastes like sewage now. I mean, not that pungent, but…sewage light? Essence of sewage?

I’m taking liberties a bit here, but it really is not pleasant. I subsequently had to give the rating a hearty knock down. For whatever reason, maybe because I just wanted to rid the sample from my collection, I spent a good portion of a studying day steeping this at different times and temperatures, to no avail. I became so consumed, actually, that physics had to sit on the back burner whilst I traveled a range of temperatures from 130 to 190. At each new temperature I took fresh batch of leaves and let them sit. Took the leaves out around 3:00 minutes, tried to drink it, then resteeped them once just to be sure. All I got nothing more than a variety of different intensities of the taste of dirty water. Almost soapy. It reminds me of when I was at camp and we jumped in the lake and I accidentally swallowed some water. It’s just less…silty. Actually, it really reminds me of the taste of lukewarm pool water.

If you’re wondering what’s up with the anal methodology here, it’s because I feel like I’m getting to the point where I’m going on autopilot with Adagio in terms of the quality of their tea on my internal scale and I wanted to be sure I was giving them a fair shake. I went to the point of sipping out the cup while the leaves were in the infuser to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on some some magical steep time on the way to 3 minutes. Unfortunately, all the happened was that the salty, soapy taste got stronger.

What’s frustrating is that the smell of the wet leaves, and even the tea itself steaming in the cup, was making me think I could have hit it right at some points, but it was misses all over the place. A good cup of this was the dartboard and I had put several hundred holes in the wall.

I think that this is a suitable place to add that I made a rather horrifying [and yet…comforting?] discovery while I was away from Steepster. Part of my 52 teas order included a Taylor thermometer [about that time, eh chaps?] and upon the first few uses, I discovered that Adagio’s UtiliTEA is wildly inaccurate. I mean, to the tune of 20 degrees variance on the same dial setting. Could be that mine’s defective, but needless to say I won’t be recommending it to anyone anymore. Things that I noticed were that the cooler temperatures occurred when the water level was higher [made sense] but that the temperature inaccuracies occurred more often at the higher temperature settings [didn’t really make sense]. A number of times, when it was set to boil, it would give me water at 180 degrees, and that’s just ridiculous.

This is comforting to me only because it means that my oscillating opinion of black teas is likely directly correlated with the faulty kettle. For reasons I cannot determine, when put into the green range it only seems to vary around 10-15 degrees, and more often than not medians around an acceptable temperature. I don’t get it either, but what I can say is that I only really use the utiliTEA anymore when I need a lower water temperature and I know I can heat it above the desired temperature and cool it if necessary. To be safe, I tested the thermometer on water off the stove and any error in reading it may be experiencing appears to be negligible. It’s definitely the kettle.

So, I guess that’s a partial danger of discovering a new relative high on the spectrum of your awareness of anything. Things that sufficed can be demoted to the status of “only if desperate” and things that were mediocre at best can plummet to the depths of the red yucky face. I am not going to list a steep time or a water temperature because there were so many. And I’m going to leave this at one entry because I don’t want to spam you guys with the nuances of dishwater that I got from the varying trials. Dirty dishwater will suffice enough, I think. After using up almost the entirety of my sample, I had to toss the rest. I couldn’t willingly subject someone else to it, nor justify the cost of shipping to send it anywhere else other than the trash can.

There is really only one other tea that I can claim to vehemently dislike this much, and I hope that this one is the last. In any case, I can say without hesitation that I do not like this tea.

Auggy

I feel ya. Adagio’s Dragonwell was the second one I’d ever had (and the first one was even worse, if you can believe it) and I was scared off of Dragonwell for a good year and a half. A&D’s DFT Dragonwell is the only other one I’ve tried since then and thankfully it didn’t make me want to pour it out. I even liked it.

sophistre

I have sniffed mine and not tried it. Now I’m probably going to have to try it, and I’ll probably hate it. Whee!

I was skeptical when I bought my Zojirushi. I don’t want to use plastics anywhere in contact with my hot water, ever…though I think the only plastic the water really comes into contact with in it is the nozzle it dispenses from. I thought the ‘new plastics getting warm’ smell would not go away…but…it has. And it is pretty awesome. I recommend it.

Fred

I feel that dragonwell is definitely not a very good first or second foray into green tea. If you are a beginner and want to try a good green tea that wont scare you off I would suggest genmaicha. I know you’re over there saying but genmaicha is not strictly tea. Well yes it isn’t, but if you want to not be scared away by green tea it is a pleasant first way to go. I don’t drink too many Chinese green teas, but to me dragonwell was just kind of blah.

takgoti

@auggy I enjoyed A&D’s Dragonwell, too. Though not as much as that Dragonwell Spring! May need to try both of them in succession tomorrow just to play around with temperatures.

@sophistre Don’t let my opinion on the Dragonwell sway you too terribly; there are people who enjoy this one! This was just too horrible to me not to write about. I’ve definitely been rooting around for a new degree setting heater, so thanks for your testimony on the Zojirushi! I shall add a tally mark in my little book.

@Fred Sorry, no newbie here. I’m no expert but I’d definitely not consider myself to be a beginner. I’ve had what I consider to be a sizeable enough number of greens to have some footing in the region of both Chinese and Japanese greens, and the beginning of my review stated that I’ve recently-ish been introduced to a Dragonwell that was through the roof good. This one has, partially as a result of that, partially because I didn’t like it terribly to begin with, fallen into the bowels of the under 10 rating.

Ricky

Look what you’ve done, I’m looking at a zojirushi now and it looks like a pretty Asian rice cooker. Okay, I meant design wise. You know what! I’m going to stick with my $40 water kettle that burns 1500 watts of power and continue my gestimates :D

Auggy

Zojirushi does make rice cookers so I bet there’s a reason for the similarity!
But it is so awesome. Even more awesome than my (Tiger) rice cooker. And I love my rice cooker.

teaplz

Those Zojirushis sure as expensive! Definitely not in my price range right now… I don’t even really know what I’m looking at. I’m way behind on these tea gadgety things.

Yay, the infamous Dragonhell review has arrived! DRAGONHELL. That’s right. ‘Cause that’s what this is, apparently. I trust your opinion on this, tak-tak. You’ve definitely tried tons of greens, so there’s no need to drink a sub-par Dragonhell. Especially when there’re way better ones out there that you’ve tried (i.e. Dream About Tea’s version). Nobody can accuse you of not giving it your all, though! Srsly, you tried with this mess. I applaud you for the effort!

Fred

@Takgoti Sorry I didn’t think you were a newbie. I guess I may have implied that. I was just speaking of newbies in general to green tea. I apologize.

Jillian

I really enjoyed the Dragonwell I got from a local shop. I used up the whole sample but I can maybe send you a bit when I buy more (and I definitely will!)

Suzi

@teaplz Zojirushis are a pretty penny but totally worth it. I love mine, which I got through Amazon.com – keep an eye out, they pop up in the Gold Box deals every once in a while.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever had the Dragonwell from Adagio. But I don’t think so – seems that if I had, I’d remember, based on the comments here!

Grinnyguy

Is it possible you were just having a bad day? I had a month of drinking nothing but one type of first flush darjeeling and although I loved it at the start, I was sick of it at the end. I also sometimes feel like one tea more than another, and the weather, or the food you have it with, or what you’re doing when you have it. I say wait until a nice sunny day and see if you prefer it then. Just an idea (but don’t shoot me down too hard, I’m very busy being earnestly grumpy today)

takgoti

@Fred No worries.

@Jillian Oooh, nice! I could be down with that! I think that I could be ready for another tea swap in mid to late January?

@Grinnyguy I’d almost like to think so, but no. I’ve had this a few times now [meaning on completely different occasions – I don’t log tea every time I drink it] and there was nothing remarkably different about the taste between this one and the ones then. If I’m sitting down to taste a tea I do it when I’m not eating and I’m usually not doing much else besides sitting there and drinking the tea for the exact reasons that you stated – external factors can really influence how I’m feeling about something if I let them. The real thing that so deflated my opinion of it was the introduction of a new, far, far, far superior dragonwell to my palate. I do appreciate your playing devil’s advocate, but unfortunately I don’t think I can pen this one down to simply having a bad tea day. [Consequently, I hope you enjoyed your grumpy day for what it was worth and have now shook them out for a while. We all need those days periodically.]

Grinnyguy

Fair enough, as long as you’ve given it a chance. I feel much better after getting the grump out of my system thanks. Have a wonderful christmas

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8
drank Dragonwell by Adagio Teas
260 tasting notes

Sorry Adagio, not impressed.

I haven’t been drinking a lot of Adagio lately for whatever reason, When I read @Cynthia Carter’s log yesterday I thought to myself, “Self, this might be a good time to try this one.”

I also have a UtiliTEA and Adagio recommends 180 degrees, so I set the dial near the top of the green region and brewed a cup. The first couple of sips were overwhelmingly salty. Then it was like what @CC said – bath water. And then I wasn’t getting enough flavor, so about halfway through the cup I tossed it and moved the dial back.

The second try was a bit more mellow, though more flavorful. However, it still isn’t doing anything for me. The taste becomes a little bit more obvious as it cools, but…

Okay, here’s the thing. There are moments when I think that this could be a tea that I would really like. The scent has this nice roasted quality to it, and the finish is enjoyable, but getting to that point is not at all fun for me. The beginning part of this for me has a hint of bitterness [which I’ve gotten accustomed to from some of the greens] but it’s accompanied by this distinct blechy taste that’s almost sour. It reminded me of this time when I drank water out of a glass I hadn’t rinsed very well and still had some dishwashing liquid on it. So I resteeped the leaves in a new cup, just to be safe. Still there.

The tricky thing is that the aftertaste on this makes me think that I drank something good. It’s got that nice grassy sweetness that is in many of the greens I enjoy, especially when I breathe air in over my tongue. So I keep picking it up and sipping it. Even as I’m writing about how I’m not a huge fan of it. And there’s the dishwashing liquid.

I think I’m going to have to shelve this and try it again sometime when this experience has faded and I’m feeling up to it again. [If anyone has any suggestions I was at 1 tsp leaves, 8 oz. water at 170-175 degrees. Ish.]

Ironically, though, this has my curiosity piqued, so I think I’m going to try Tavalon’s dragonwell and see what happens.

Luthien

I’ve found that some of the vendors’ temperature estimates for green teas tend to be standard for all the green teas they sell, but some green teas really need to be treated more gently than others. Dragonwell seems to brew best for me steeped for two minutes at around 70C (158F). One time I wasn’t thinking about which green tea I was brewing and steeped it at my green tea default temperature, 77C (171F). It really didn’t taste anywhere near as good as it should have that time. So yeah, I’d suggest lowering the temperature next time and see if that helps.

takgoti

Sweet. Will do. This made me pretty sad.

Cynthia Carter

Thanks takgoti – I’m glad it’s not just that I am woefully ignorant of green tea – it’s reassuring to know someone else tasted this and said “Blech!”

That said, I think I will try the lower temperature as well. Thank you for the suggestion, Luthien.

mr.base

Fortunately i never came across a bad dragonwell, but this one sounds like it. I agree with Luthien about the temperature. But even between the dragonwells there are differencies and you need to test what temperature is the best. I steep the dragonwells usually for 50-60 seconds. Until 1 min. they don’t have a slightest bitterness. Also the leaf quantity gives you very different experiences. Usually the dragonwell requires some more leafs for rich flavour. Can’t tell you how much to use because i don’t use a spoon, i usually cover the bottom of the tea pot with a approx. 2-3mm thic layer of leafs. Also, sometimes when i want some more flavour i do it via gong fu cha using a gaibei(gaiwan). I this case i use it approx. in ratio 1:4 (leafs/water). This is creates rather a strog beverage, but no bitter. So you really need to experiment a little bit.

Auggy

Your experience with this is sort of an exaggerated version of my experiences with Chinese greens. I do use a lower temp (160-ish) for my greens so I think the “ick” isn’t as strong for that reason but yeah. Salty is pretty much what I taste and I never really got Dragonwell to a point where I liked it. Just where I didn’t have to pour it out.

takgoti

@Cynthia Carter No worries! Hopefully we’ll both learn from this!

@mr. base Oh wow, thanks! I’m getting all excited about trying to make this tea good now. I think there will be a fair amount of experimentation going on this weekend.

@Auggy Hmm. Maybe I just don’t like Dragonwells. I’d say maybe I don’t like Chinese Greens but I think I’ve had a decent number of them and they’ve been okay to me thus far. Now I’m pondering. Looks like it’s going to be a green tea weekend.

Auggy

I’m not a huge Chinese green fan personally but I’ve found some decent ones. Honestly, Rishi’s Jade Cloud is my favorite but I tend to like it best after it gets a little older – smooths it out for me. There was one from SpecialTeas (Clouds and Mist or something?) that was awesome on the first steep but after that not so hot. But yeah, that’s pretty much it for me. I keep trying them though!

Cynthia Carter

OK, so I’ve taken on board a lot of what you folks have kindly suggested – lower temperature, more tea leaves, a brief steep. I doubled the amount of leaves I was using (farewell, little sample tin!), set the temperature on my UtiliTea to the lowest green setting, and steeped for about two minutes.

The best I can say is that it is somewhat improved, and I think the largest difference came from increasing the amount of tea brewed. My palate is accustomed to hearty blacks, or delicate Darjeelings or oolongs, and I suspect this tea is just a little subtle for my tastes. In short – just not my cup of tea.

Cofftea

As I sip my 20th infusion, this makes me sad…

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80
drank Yunnan Noir by Adagio Teas
8 tasting notes

Just made this for the first time, and it’s really strong and good. Sort of a mix of wood, chocolate, and smoke.

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34
drank Yunnan Jig by Adagio Teas
519 tasting notes

Gave this another try last night, I guess to see if my tastes have changed. They haven’t. This just tastes like leather to me… like I steeped leather in my teapot. I do not dig it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
teatortoise

It shouldn’t taste that way.

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34
drank Yunnan Jig by Adagio Teas
519 tasting notes

Yep, I was right. This is good with a big glob of honey. I steeped it a little longer since the description practically encourages it. Seven minutes instead of five. It got stronger, yeah, but not bitter. This might taste a little bit too much like wood for me, though. I’m still curious to try Yunnan Gold and Yunnan Noir despite this.

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34
drank Yunnan Jig by Adagio Teas
519 tasting notes

Very… dark tasting tea. Earthy and definitely smoky. Something about it reminds me of a river in the woods. I brewed it at boiling point for four minutes. Sweetened it with 2 Splenda packets. Next time, I’m going with honey. This is probably amazing with honey. Also, this is my first yunnan.

East Side Rob

Nothing like a good Yunnan. See how you like Adagio’s other Yunnans. (I haven’t tried them myself.) And also try Rishi’s Organic Golden Yunnan. It’s really good and wild harvested from tea trees that are hundreds of years old. Had a cup after lunch today, in fact.

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75

It’s a little like drinking the scent of the forest ground as it wafts up in the early morning. That’s overly poetic, but it’s what I like about white tea—that hint of still growing, still in the earth bitterness. This has bright overtones making it delicious even unsweetened.

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69

Finished off this tin today, so I wanted to log my parting thoughts:

I really like this tea. It brews a deep, dark brown color, and has a rich and smokey aroma/flavor that demands your attention. That said, it’s not bitter or sharp, so you can really sip it and enjoy it without adding anything to it. (The way I prefer my teas.)

Plus, it’s fun to watch the tea unfold and unravel, and you get some odd looks when you’re prepping a pot of tea that just includes a few marble sized balls of leaves.

All in all, a winner in my book.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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