I love watching these hand rolled leaves slowly unfurl and infuse the water with a golden brown color. The aroma is seductively laced with tones of honey and dried fruit amongst the woodsy base. Adagio has a winner with this tea that is both complex and consistently very good. Similar to Adagio “Yunnan Jig,” but with a touch more sweetness.
76 Tasting Notes
Such an interesting tea… silky smooth, beautiful color, and an aroma that is complex and like no other black tea I have ever tried. The unique flavor definitely takes you on a trip with notes of chocolate, caramel and honey. A warm fuzzy feeling that leaves you wanting another cup. Good thing it holds up to multiple steeps…
There is something of the Wonder (with a capital W) that I had when first watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a youngster. I can hear Gene Wilder and those darn lyrics:
Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of
Take a look
And you’ll see
Into your imagination…
Sorry about my sappy review, but this tea brings out some long forgotten child-like joy!
I haven’t had many herbal blends that included honeybush and/or rooibos, so was not sure what to expect. I was actually rather pleased, and think this was the favorite I have of the samples I received from Tea Forte. It made a really nice light brew with aroma and taste of both apricot and amaretto. A hint of flowery character, probably from the marigold flowers. Not too sweet, and a nice accompaniment to a piece of buttery shortbread.
What a beautiful tea this Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green! The dry leaves look identical to the very high quality dragonwell (or longjing 龍井茶) teas that I have had the pleasure of drinking. Flat, pan fired and distinctly complete — not broken or crumbled. Truly worthy of pondering the long journey these leaves have made to make it into my cup.
The aroma is the first surprise. Not nutty like the longjing, but that distinct smell of the other Laoshan greens, combining the butter bean aroma with the slight scent of the ocean mists. When described as being somewhat like a Japanese gyokuro, I had my doubts, since gyokuro teas are not only shaded before harvest, but also come from different varieties of cultivars. I should have known better, since David has such a wonderfully developed palate and honesty which I have never seen hyped. You see, I love gyokuro, but my budget leaves it to being enjoyed on only the rarest of occasions!
So I brewed this at a lower temperature (140F/60C) and for just 90 seconds, and what a wonderful complex flavor from this perfectly translucent light green infusion. Sweetness, light grassy flavor and a touch of umami, a surprisingly complex green that is hard to categorize, yet truly enjoyable. It shares the characters of several well known tastes (gyokuro, longjing and Laoshan green) and comes up with a whole new flavor/aroma profile. Second infusion, was slightly higher temp, and only for 45 seconds, yielding a new profile that is even sweeter and lighter. More infusions coming, but I could not resist writing this tea experience up and sharing on Steepster…
This summer, I have been enjoying the Laoshan Northern Green from Verdant Teas, and have taken a real shine to its sugar snap pea flavor and nice light aroma. When my supply was out, I perused both Steepster and the Verdant Tea’s website, where I found some great videos about the farm, and a great description of this Early Summer Laoshan Green. I was intrigued, placed an order, and quickly received my package, filled with teas I can’t wait to experience and enjoy.
I loaded up my medium size glass gaiwan with 4 grams of tea, and did a quick steep of 175F water for 30 seconds (the website says 3 seconds, which seemed too short to my eye). Wow, what an interesting aroma! Somewhat like boiled peanuts or butterbeans – and a hint of saltwater sea spray. And the taste was just about the same. Very solid, sweet and possessing that bit of umami flavor that I have not experienced outside of Japanese green teas. It was so very good, that I followed the initial steep with 4 more, and then started to get a bit of bitterness. I left the leaves in cold water overnight, which cold brewed me just a tad more.
Today I am sipping on this tea once again. I haven’t even started any of the other teas I ordered, other than taken a good healthful whiff of the Artisan Revival puerh tea that David so generously included with my order (read my Steepster review of that one, for another fantastic tea). The only problem with this tea experience (I say with great sarcasm), is that I can’t get the lyrics out of my head:
Some people are fat, some people are lean
But I want you to show me the person
Who doesn’t like butterbeans
Well, you can have your yams
You can have your collard greens
But if you want to please little ol’ me
You better fix butterbeans
Anyone old enough to recognize this snippet from “Butterbean” by the B-52’s?
I had been saving my sample of Kabuse Sencha this past month until I had a nice calm evening to really sit quietly and enjoy the flavors of this wonderful tea. The aroma of the dry leaves is phenomenal and I decided to use the Wazuka, or Southern Kyoto steeping technique which Obubu Tea describes in their brochure and on their website. My small kyusu teapot was used for all, after being warmed first and 5 grams of tea added.
1st (concentrated) steeping: Only 3 oz or 80 ml of 160F/70C spring water, for 1.5 minutes. Brews up a “sencha espresso” that is very sweet, nicely vegetal and tastes like spring. Aroma and after taste have just a hint of a savory character.
2nd through 4th steeping: Full 6 oz or 180 ml of spring water gradually increasing the temperature and time with each steeping. The flavor and aroma become less sweet, and more vegetal with almost no detectable bitterness or astringency. Very nice balance, and truly enjoyable.
The leaves are so tender and hydrated after steeping, that they can easily be eaten. I used mine to make “green rice” for dinner. Simply added the leaves to some pre-cooked brown rice with just a touch of soy sauce and a few green chives on top.
Amazingly well balanced for a single estate Ceylon tea. Nice combination of light astringency and full, round, sturdy character. It is much like a very good British Breakfast blend, with a taste of sunshine and humidity. From the distinct aroma, to the very last sip, this tea asserts itself as a true Ceylon tea. A nice tea to pair with hearty foods, or good buttery shortbread.
I was really leery of tasting this tea after the box arrived covered in dust and a dead bug between the inner bag and outer box. But my love of osmanthus, and curiosity got the better of me. I brewed a small gaiwan, and enjoyed it so much that it was soon followed by a large pot to share with a friend. Light, beautiful and really pleasant. A nice balance between the tea and the flowers. Like drinking dewdrops of honeysuckle nectar. Truly one of the best teas I have tasted from Samovar.
And BTW, customer service at Samovar online was fantastic. They responded quickly to emails and wanted to make sure an experience like this didn’t happen again, sending me samples of some of their other teas. Very friendly and very professional.
I received a black tea sampler from Samovar, and this Earl Grey sample was first up. I have had several very good teas from Samovar, and love Earl Grey, so I had high expectations since so many reviewers had listed this as one of their favorites. Unfortunately, I have to wonder what happened to my sample? It was bitter, nasty and tasted like perfume. No taste from the tea at all… and just a smell of alcohol and rotten oranges. As several of my other boxes of tea came covered in dust, I wonder if this sat so long in the warehouse that it went bad… Such a disappointment. :(
An interesting experiment today. In anticipation of a new package of fresh dried osmanthus flowers, expected to arrive from China in the next week or so, used my last pinch in my morning cup of Laoshan Northern Green. I was not sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised that the beany-vegetal tones of the green mixed really well with the honeysuckle sweetness of the o-flowers! A really nice end of summer treat. Of course summer here in Miami will stretch into December, but technically still, summer is over.
This is a real classic Yunnan tea. Rich and savory flavor, with a slight cocoa powder finish. Earthy and spicy and soft, smooth, creamy mouthfeel and finish. Adagio has a variety of Yunnan teas, some that are higher rated and higher priced, but this is probably my favorite. It is beautiful to see the mixture of gold and black leaves, and the aroma of dry leaves, wet leaves and liquor are all quite nice. Just a touch of peppery flavor and it brews up well in a teapot, gaiwan or gong fu style. A really nice experience for newcomers to loose and/or Yunnan teas.
A very good Wuyi Mountain Oolong. This is the “Mama Bear” of the Wuyi Mountain Oolongs I tried from China Cha Dao. Not too smokey, not too sweet, but just right. Enough complexity to keep me interested through several steepings. It is distinctive in it’s aroma, and does not overwhelm you as some can. One note, this tea really depends on having good water that is not hard, best with bottled spring water (soft).
This new offering by Adagio Teas is very similar to their Jade Snail Tea and both appear to be varieties of Bi Luo Chun (Pi Luo Chun). This is a very delicate tea and is better if left to steep at a lower temperature, and for less duration that recommended by Adagio. Complex, crisp and a great pleasure to drink.
1st infusion: 1 tsp. for 6 ounces water, 170 F, 1.5 minutes.
Slightly sweet and fruity aroma and flavor. Nice gold/green color. Lingering toasty taste, probably from pan firing the leaves.
2nd infusion: 180 F, 1.5 minutes.
Sweetness continues with flavors ranging toward a spring oolong. Very slight grassiness in the background.
3rd infusion: 185 F, 2 minutes.
Color has become more gold than green. Definite taste of spring continues. very nice!
There is something so warm and pleasing about this Yunnan tea. All week, while I was battling migraine headaches and various aches, this was the tea I was craving. It has a great cha-qi (energy) that comes from these big leaves and golden buds. Sweet yet malty with a nice robust flavor and aroma that lingers on and on. This is definitely “comfort in a cup.”
Another interesting combination from Rishi Tea blending organic ginger and pu’erh tea. Not something I would normally look for, even though I enjoy good pu’erh tea and ginger tea as well (especially from fresh ginger). However, it was part of a sampler pack I had purchased and I thought I would give it a try.
Their brewing parameters of 5-6 minutes were a disaster on my first attempt, making a truly undrinkable brew—but when I shortened the time to 3 minutes, at 195 degrees F, it brews up to a really tasty concoction. Dark and earthy, predominantly ginger flavor but with a distinct pu’erh taste supporting. I was amazed to get three nice infusions this way with enough left over to try iced. Mmmm. You have to really like ginger to enjoy this (duh!) and try out the brewing parameters to find a taste that suits you. If the ginger is too prominent, try a second infusion where it tones down a bit.
Such an interesting tea, quite good flavors and a light peppery aroma.
I have been working my way through my sample pack from Obubu, and thought I would make this one today as it is so very warm and humid. I followed their recommended brewing instructions, using my kyusu to hold the entire 5 gram sample. Nice grassy fragrance to the dry leaves, and mix of leaf size as this is aracha (unsorted) tea straight from the farm.
1st steep: 30 seconds at 185F, yields a really nice light emerald green liquid, with slightly peppery aroma to the wet leaves. I can’t resist drinking this hot, saving the second steep for “iced” tea. It has a really nice vegetal taste, with more spinach flavors and grassy undertones. No kelpiness, just a real nice earthy green flavor.
2nd steep: quick 15 second steep at 185F, then poured over ice. This is truly where this tea shines. It tastes amazingly good, refreshing and ‘sparkling’ — but definitely not too sweet. It is beautifully clear, and an appealing gold-green.
I am cold brewing the remaining leaves to see if I can stretch this sample, not only because I am frugal, but because I am really liking this tea! This one is going on my shopping list…
Another very good quality Oolong from China Cha Dao. Nice aroma, slight scent of roasted apples and wood fire. A very mild sweetness to the flavor, and a wonderful feel in the mouth. Beautiful amber color, and you can see nice unfurling of the medium sized leaves.
I fist brewed a sample western style, with about 1 heaping teaspoon for 7 ounces of near boiling water. It lasted for several infusions and really got me hooked. This afternoon I tried brewing gong fu style in a small 150 ml zisha yixing, and the results were equally pleasing.
A very interesting journey in tasting this tea. It is one that I have enjoyed very much and look forward to drinking again.
Back in June, I ordered an Ito En Matcha Gift set from Amazon.com for about $30, that included a chawan (tea bowl), chashaku (bamboo scoop/spoon), chasen (tea whisk) and some matcha tea. I had no idea that the Tea’s Tea ceremonial grade matcha would be so good, and has quickly become my matcha of choice for usucha — or “thin/light tea.” I just checked out Ito En’s website (https://www.itoen.com/matcha-teas-tea-7-oz-can.html) and now they even have it on sale for less than $10 for a tin. A great deal, and now I see they even won an award for this Tea — I am not surprised!
Another very nice tea from Obubu Tea Plantations in Kyoto. I have been drinking this today using the parameters specified by Obubu, and it makes for a very pleasant set of infusions of a very bright and lightly buttery character. Nice vegetal taste with only a slight touch of bitterness in the first steep. It doesn’t take much imagination to taste the “early summer sun shining brightly.”
A really nice healthy green taste; It goes well with food, but I am enjoying it all on it’s own!
No notes yet.
This morning I finished up the last of my sample of Mt. Yiwu Sheng Pu’er, and I am truly sorry to see it go. It is one of the top three Sheng Pu’er teas that I have ever tasted, and shares this honor with the two other Sheng Pu’er teas I received in my Verdant Tea sampler. So nice that a company uses it’s sampler to put their best foot forward and tries to gain you as a customer.
Through multiple infusions, this tea takes you on a journey that is both quiet and adventurous. It is a walk through a rain filled forest, with stops along the way for a taste of spicyness, a later nibble at pear or apple, and a sniff of moss, mushrooms and distant campfire. Sorry if my description is a bit too imaginative, and should perhaps be more prosaic, but this Pu’er (along with the Verdant Teas ‘06 Artisan Revival and ’03 Mt Banxhang) gets me excited about Chinese Pu’er like no others.
The aroma of the dry leaves and stems is very pleasant, with a grassy vegetal quality that is reminiscent of fresh cut hay and autumn breezes. The stems in my sample were quite prominent, and sturdier than those in the Yanagi Bancha sample I had tried previously, but the leaves were very fine, and a beautiful dark green.
Using my kyusu I did three extractions of this sample, all using approximately 3.5 ounces of water:
1st steep: 45 seconds at 180 F
2nd steep: a quick steep of only about 10 seconds at 180 F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at 180 F
The wet leaves have an amazing aroma, unlike any sencha I have tried before. An almost peppery quality like mustard greens, but this does not come through in the tea. All three infusions were of similar quality in being a bright yellow green, clear, refreshing and well balanced. There are some nice grassy undertones and a softness that is similar to many spring time pickings.
This would make a nice accompaniment to almost any meal, but is very pleasant to drink all alone. Another very nice tea from Obubu. :)
No notes yet.
I received my sampler from Obubu Tea and what a beautiful sampler it is. The packaging is artistically done, and all text is in Japanese, so if you may have to do a bit of detective work matching the inscriptions to translations provided on the guide provided. It is filled with different versions of Sencha, Genmaicha, and several different roasts of Houjicha. All great temptations, but I chose to start by brewing up this Bancha and am very happy I did!
Time to load up the sample into my kyusu, and take a few deep breaths of the lovely aroma of the dry leaves and stems. A bit like alfalfa hay, and a real sweetness that is hard to explain, but nice to experience.
1st steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
2nd steep: 15 seconds at about 190 degrees F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
Now this is real aracha (http://www.obubutea.com/tea-info/aracha/), in the best way possible. It is nicely refreshing in being both mildly sweet and mildly savory. I found myself chewing on a couple of the twigs/stems just to verify this is where that fascinating sweet flavor is coming from. This may not have the refined complexities of the higher grade teas, but for me it is a really pleasant connection to the tea plantation, and I look forward to the other samples to follow!