Adagio TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Hey, remember me?
Yeah, I’ve been gone a while…
Busy with stuff:
Moving back home, being a new uncle, trying to write enough so I don’t look like a COMPLETE drain while I take a semester off college, taking care of an aged dog, reconnecting with people, seeing an old friend for the first time, co-owning a hookah…
Oh, and my laptop is broken. Need to send it in. Been like that for a while… (on my father’s computer)
So, now I’ve pissed away a lot of money (much of it to a good cause), and I’m connecting with the kid pretty well. “The Kid” being my nephew, not a child of my own. And I’m thinking about some literary career options – wish me luck.
(a little more life blabbing, though)
When I got home, and finally sat down for tea in my tea room, the first thing I said to myself was,
“It’s too cluttered.”
My sister is moving back home with the kid, and tomorrow (or, rather, today) she’s moving her furniture back home, into the garage. When that’s all taken care of, I’m going to see how much space is left for me to move any extra tables from my tearoom out… blah! The clutteredness (amongst other things, obviously) is keeping me from spending too much time with tea…
So today (getting to the tea tasting, I promise)
I was in Puripan, and they’ve had all their tea sets on sale since the holidays. Finally decided to buy one. So, with the 40% discount, and a $40 gift card, an $80 set ended up costing $12 from my pocket. Woo!
So, the tea:
Very pleasant. Marvelous. I used my new set for the first time, and made sure to clean it thoroughly with hot water when I washed the leaves, because the chick at the store gave me the set that was on display. Brewing went very well – I got three solid infusions, and luckily my tea brewing skills haven’t atrophied from disuse. I could have pushed more, I’m sure, but I found myself very content at that time, and seeing as the set, tray and woonsan I was using were all Korean made, and three is a lucky number in Korea (or so I’ve been told by the store’s Korean manager), I decided to let things work out that way.
Good tea, good tea. Glad I bought it, in the long run – Great when I want a nice, elegant tea moment, and I’m not trying to impress anyone, and I don’t need an amazing, expensive tea.
So, if you’ve bothered to read this far, I’ll treat you to a description on the tea set as well!
Very simple set: three cups, a pot, and a decanter. The pot and decanter are both solid cylinders, the latter having no handle – it’s basically just a tall bowl with a lip for pouring. The handle on the pot is a long, smooth round thing, that comes out from a 90 degree angle from the spout, as you find on many Korean and some Japanese infusers. It’s a thick clay material, brown – almost ugly. I prefer the term rough.
I had the choice between this set, and an identical one in a smooth, turqouis ceramic one, with all those tiny cracks that are supposed to absorb the tint of the tea over time. The one I bought it much more dull, and not so smooth… ya know? I bought it because, well, I don’t have anything in my collection like it – everything else is so fine.
Drinking with it… almost felt a bit gritty. Something I’ll get used to with time, I’m sure.
Overall, a good purchase, a good tea time, and hopefully I’ll be writing on here more frequently.
I don’t think I’ll have too much to say.
Drank this for breakfast. Yes, I got out of bed at 4:30 in the afternoon. Shush.
I made a sort of… I dunno, fort? alcove? tea room? I used the space under my desk, which is by the corner of the room, and I created a forth wall with the back of a chair, and a jacket. I wanted to be cut off from reality for a bit, and enjoy tea in peace. I used to do that kind of thing when I was kid, build forts… maybe I drink tea as an excuse to do the same thing as a young adult?
When I looked through my tea cupboard, this seemed like the only tea that wouldn’t bother my stomach – I have an oddly weak stomach when I wake up, and that lasts for an hour or two. The tea was good to me today, and I appreciate it.
It did me the favor of a pleasant tea time, so I did it the favor of a less scrutinizing tasting. When you’re not looking for an amazingly high quality leaf, this tea is pretty nice. I like it. None of a darker oolong’s harshness, and none of a superb tea’s temperament. Glad I bought the two ounces. I don’t get in the moods for these two often, but when I do… this will be a nice thing to have around.
As an oolong, it’s great. For the Oolongs I’ve had from Adagio, I’d probably put this at the top of the list. Definitely had the mountain peak taste, and rates above your average Dong Ding, or other Taiwanese leaf. Good, bright color, and had that light, buttery taste that’s characteristic of the higher teas.
But again, I’ve had better teas from the same category.
While this tea was able… to lift me, it didn’t transcend me as much as other Ali Shans have. By that, I mean… I did EXPERIENCE the tea, as you can only really do with the finer ones, but it didn’t take me away from the real world. I will give it credit for moving me, though.
Less abstractly, now…
Good leaf color, not too many stems, and a nice smell. I will note, though, that the leaves’ fragrance seemed to weaken as I brewed, where it usually gets stronger for me. Also, post brew, as I played with the leaves, I wasn’t impressed. While it seemed to be more or less all whole leaf, the leaves weren’t in the best quality, and they’re not quite as aesthetically pleasing as the leaves I’ve had from finer Taiwanese teas. I know there’s something…off in them, but I’m not tea-educated enough to be able to pick it out precisely, or put it into adequate words.
So, I’ll leave it at this. If you like oolongs, this is a nice tea. I’m sure I’ll brew it again, and use it as a “fancy tea” for guests. For my personal tastes, I’ve been a bit blessed in my tea experiences, and this doesn’t quite meet my expectations, and thus doesn’t completely satisfy. In the end though – a good tea, worth buying, especially if you haven’t tried finer oolongs before.
Lungjing, I’ve a feeling we’re not in China anymore…
Well, this tea lacks character. Not the tea itself, as a whole, but Adagio’s product. The flavor is just a bit… safe. The leaves are also very often broken. Adagio says its “First Grade” – and, well, it sure is pretty elementary.
Well, this is another tea that my own experience prevents me from really enjoying.
So, I brewed the leaves the only way I find natural now – in a cup. (actually, it should be a glass, but my “glasses” are plastic.) For all you people brewing this in a pot, and timing it… forget it. Leaves, cup, water. That’s all you need. Start sipping after a minute or so, and you’ll enjoy it more.
This is a habit I picked up in China, because that’s how they do it there. My father and I visited the beautiful country around the time of a lungjing harvest in April, and almost everyone was serving it – cafes, restaurants, you name it. They also often serve plain, in-the-shell sunflower seeds with the tea – why, I don’t know. But it was a great combination.
So, not only was I able to experience this tea fresh from the country, my father and I, while in Hangzhou, visited the Dragonwell village. My mother has Paris, I have Lungjing village, I tell you. That was my first time seeing, in person, acres of tea bush. Gorgeous. And every home there processed and served their own tea – the taste varied from house to house.
I never liked Dragonwell until I visited China.
So, on that note…
I can’t really enjoy this tea. It’s not fresh, and I’m not in a Chinese person’s house, trying to buy a tin through a language barrier, or sipping it next to the West Lake. Adagio, you can sell me the mediocre tea, but you can’t sell me the things that should go with it.
Tonight I blended half Honeybush hazelnut, half Honeybush chocolate. It smells kind of like some fancy coffee drink (minus the coffee) and tastes amazing. Honeybush is awesome because it has a sweet, mellow flavor- similar to rooibos, but not as powerful. It is amazing iced- i think iced honeybush is probably one of my favorite things, ever. I like to cold brew it because it’s easier that way. But tonight I’m drinking it hot, and loving it.
It’s been a while since I actually tasted rum, but I wouldn’t say this tea tastes of it. Instead, the flavor is a light black tea with a slight flavor note that almost seems like a berry. It’s very mild, a good basic tea. Steep it for five minutes and mix in some milk and sugar for a tasty treat.
If, like me, you often forget to take your leaves out don’t despair – this tea has a slightly astringent quality when over-steeped but it isn’t unpleasantly bitter. Oddly, the word I would use to describe the aftertaste of over-steeped Rum Tea is ‘chewy’, but anyway. I often over-steep my tea so I’m always on the look out for blends that won’t be ruined if I do, and this is one of them.
Another winner from Adagio, I am drinking this as I post … lightly floral and relaxing at bedtime. I pour my first cup, and then let it steep a bit longer and add it to my cup, I like the differences between the lighter steep and then the darker notes… I let it cool pretty far and don’t mind at all at room temp.
My mom made this for me once. It was horrible. So I was a bit scared to try this. I did 2.5g/8oz and I think I made it pretty weak, but it kept it from being overpowering and tart. Didn’t even need sugar and that makes me happy. An herbal that doesn’t gross me out! And even better – one I’d drink again!
A good, smooth brew, yes. Water has a nice color, much more brown than most greens, and the flavor is a bit roasty. A nice tea to suit a taste that you might have, so a good tea to keep around. Hardly vegetal tasting, and the flavor isn’t too bold or mild.
Now for the kicker:
I compared this to a Bilouchun I bought at Mountain View Tea Village, a Bay Area store that I’m pretty sure is independently-owned by a Taiwanese family. The tea I got there was competition grade – I believe it placed first.
So how does it match up?
When compared, there’s a notable lack of nuance and delicacy. The Adagio tea seems to have a bolder leaf, keeping a good flavor in a broader temperature range. The competition-grade leaf, however, has a much narrower range of acceptable temperature – but, with that narrowness comes quality.
The flavor, truly, is rather different. They’re in the same realm of course, and a less discriminate tongue could probably find them pretty identical. The differences are really in line with the general comparisons that can be made between mediocre and quality tea. As I’ve mentioned, the delicacy, nuance, character, etc.
When it comes to the leaves, there’s an immediate visual difference. The Adagio leaves are a much lighter green before and after brewing, and I noticed there’s a lot of broken leaf, as well as a few stems. The comp. grade leaves have a much deeper hue, and are composed only of while leaf and there are no stems. As for smell… no comparison. the competition tea is very fragrant, rich and characteristic, while I find the adagio to be a bit light and generic-smelling.
This has been a bit of a beat-up on Adagio’s Pi Lo Chun, but keep in mind the scales were immediately tipped against it. As a basic tea, I enjoyed it, really. I’d say, though, if you really enjoy this tea, and you have the money, give the quality stuff a shot – you’ll be pleased by this tea at its finest.
Did a light drinking of this puppy. Trying to keep myself up, and I wanted a tea to settle my stomach, which is still a bit a blahhh from the Jack D’s. Strong stuff. I skipped my 8AM class this morning. Gonna crash on the couch after this review.
So, I made it in a gaiwan. Didn’t bother with a cup, just drank straight from the vessel. A pretty simple time – just had my gaiwan, a small draining tray, and a woonsan (Korean tea cooling bowl). I guess that’s somewhat elaborate, actually… For me, I guess it’s really a middle ground for me, seeing as I usually either go all out Gong Fu, or I just drop leaves in the cup, and drink my tea that way.
On that note, quickly, and the one before it, I saw the cup I used last night to make the crappy TKY. I didn’t clean it out. The leaves are in there, all unfurled… It looked gross, and made me feel gross. I love the look of open tea leaves, but knowing how bad they taste… and just how bad they look.. They look bad. Ew.
Onto the tea – It’s good this way. I think I preferred it more when I was actually steeping it for specific amounts of time, and paying more attention to water temp. The tea from the bottom of each infusion, though, was really strong and unpleasant – but I guess that’s to be expected. I think this manner of drinking suits oolongs best… i love oversteeped oolong.
I’m rambling. I want Chinese food, really bad. I’ll get some after my nap.
Tea left my mouth kind of dry. It’s not a special tea, but it’s worth brewing properly. Nice smell on the lid of my gaiwan. The brewed leaves aren’t absolutely gorgeous, but oh well.
Tea time has passed. It’s couch nap time.
Part of the green savant sampler. Was very excited when my teas got delivered today.
As TeaEqualsBliss pointed out, definitely a great tea for a beginner. Mild and smooth, and doesn’t lack at all that Chinese Green flavor. Very mellow, yes – but maybe a little bit too much. I had trouble picking out anything that would make this tea distinct or memorable.
As for the smell, the dry leaves have a pleasant fragrance, that would be suitable for scenting a room. Subtle, and even a bit fruity. That smell is misleading, though. One brewed, the leaves take on a scent similar to the taste – vegetal, but not unpleasant. Maybe I just like it because I spend too much time with tea…
Brewing wise, it has a lasting flavor. I got a good four infusions out of it before I took a break to record. Do note, though, that I was brewing it in a gaiwan, not a teapot. The open leaves fill about half the vessel, so my proportions are probably much different than that of what one would brew in a tetsubin or something.
The liquor was very light, and the brewed leaves are a bit bitter to eat, but somewhat delightful. Though the flavor is nothing to write home about, it is pleasant and elegant. Not a bad tea at all, especially for the price. Worth keeping around for times when you don’t want to just gulp down some tea, but you’re not in the mood for anything extravagant.
Probably something I’d buy more of in the future… if I remember it.