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.