Experience buying from Adagio http://steepster.com/places/2897-adagio-teas-online-naperville-illinois
Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping: in December, 2011, I bought a 14 gram sample; age of leaf not available on website; steeped on 5/19/2012.
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: mildly vegetal; small, fine, light-and-dark green curly leaves, some broken (lighter in color to another version I tried a day later).
Brewing guidelines: labeled as 14 grams of dry tea, six cups of H2O; glass Bodum six-cup teapot, leaves free to roam; stevia added; (I started the steep times a half-a-minute longer and the temps a little hotter than my normal green tea times and temps as most Bi Lo Chun green teas seem to call for this).
……….1st: 178; 1.5’
……….2nd: 182; 2
……….3rd: 182; 2.5’
……….4th: 185; 3’
……….5th: 188; 4’
Color and aroma of tea liquor: Cloudy, light-yellow color; mild, sweet, vegetal aroma.
Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping):
1st: mild, sweet, good
2nd: had at least as good a flavor as the 1st
3rd: decent flavor
4th: still decent flavor (leaves all on bottom)
5th: mild flavor (clear liquor)
Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: aroma similar to other versions, but not what I would expect from a quality green tea, as although it’s vegetal it has a somewhat stale smell (maybe because this sat in the sample bag for six months from when I bought it? Then again, maybe not …), and something else interesting I can’t place; lots of leaf movement from top to bottom of teapot while steeping, leaves mostly on bottom, lots of broken pieces floating around; wet leaf seems to be of decent quality: many whole leaves, a number of buds, and some pieces and stems.
Value: Currently $7 / 2 OZ. Most Pi Lo Chun (or Bi Lo Chun) is much more expensive (I’ve seen the fresh stuff go for close to $20/OZ, and even higher for organic), so although this price is pretty good, I don’t believe this tea is of a very high grade.
At the end of 2011 I bought four samples from Adagio (all green teas), and this is the last of that bunch. In general, I have found their green teas to be of average quality with a commensurate price.
I have had at least five different Bi Lo Chun (Pi Lo Chun) green teas at this point, and I judge this one to be a pale comparison to the real thing; it’s decent tasting and worth drinking, but nothing stands out about it. Still, it seems to embody the basics of appearance, taste and aroma that the other versions had; as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I’m on the lookout for a Bi Lo Chun of better quality, and I’m willing to pay a little more for it (not more than $5 / OZ), since, as a style of tea, Bi Lo Chun is one of the best green teas I’ve ever had (The one from H&S was incredible, but I’m not willing to pay $10/OZ for it). There are currently a few sellers on Taobao (through a Taobao buying agent) that I am very seriously considering buying some of the 2012 harvest from.