31 Tasting Notes
I am a huge ‘skeptic’ on flavoured teas, not a purist, but I just tend to stir away from them, especially after some flavored teas didn’t play nice with my taste buds. Some like Black Currant (Enjoying Tea.com), White Peach (Adagio Teas), Mango Black (Zhi Tea; makes a good iced tea though), California Fields (Mighty Leaf Tea,) and some things like that dreaded Earl Grey Bravo (Adagio Teas), and even some overly flowery Jasmines.
So I hear about the “legend of the flavoured teas”: Mariage Brother’s famous Marco Polo Blend. So popular to a fact that when I went to Williams & Sonoma to pick up a tin, they told me they were sold out the very day they restocked. It’s reputation proceeds itself. I consider myself lucky to pick a tin up at Gumps the same day. However, I think I may be overstating this tea.
Now lets dedicate a short some of this on the moment I open this tin; as I was expecting most flavoured teas to have their odour reek from the tin the moment it’s cracked open. Some flavoured teas are so dank, that their scent permeates outside the tin! (White Peach). The the scent of Marco Polo, was tame. It came to my nose with it’s exciting strawberry-maplelike scent, candylike almost, but very sophisticated. I spent a good three minutes just enjoying the aroma this tea tea. The leaves weren’t surprisingly different than other flavoured blacks, a little more fuller of a OP, with contrast of browns, and some lighter blacks. But I still say this is more than decent quality for a flavoured tea.
I brewed this like most blacks: five minutes at boiling, in my 24 ounce white teapot. The cup yielded a medium amber cup, with a mellowed aroma of the tin. The take was surprising to me. Medium-full body, it was mildly fruity and sweet, the flavouring almost bypassed my tongue in a way… to travel to my nose. Either the flavouring of this tea wasn’t as strong as I thought it was, or the heat of the boil just killed all the flavour. Either way, it finished up medium, and somewhat sharp.
This tea strangely finds a place between enjoyable and tolerable for me as I am not a fan of flavoured teas. I tried my second cup with light agave nectar, which leveled the sharp finish; and the third cup with 2% fat milk, which ‘almost’ makes me say this would make a “damn fine cup of tea”. I will make this again but with WHOLE milk or maybe even half and half.
Good luck trying to find a tin of it. It’s a bit more expensive on the web, and some high end pricey stores like Gumps in SF and Williams & Sonoma have limited stock. I consider my score to be high for a flavoured tea. This tea made me accept flavoured teas a little more, which is what I was looking for. It changed my opinion of flavoured tea, and it reminded me of Strawberry Black (Adagio Teas). If you know people who love flavoured teas serve them this, or buy it to entertain your nose. I couldn’t have this everyday. If you are a sceptic on flavoured teas, try this, and it may change your mind.
I am a fan of Japanese greens. I scored this as a sample with a purchase of TKY from Lupicia. Im always a bit iffy with Gyokuro, because they are very picky about the brew, and I become lazy to brew it with the right amount of patience.
I brewed this in a 12 ounce kyusu, with obi-ami mesh. Went extra careful with the water, and brewed it at one minute ascending brews, stopping my pour half way through, swirling the tea around quickly around the mesh and finishing the pour. Over all it drew up a bit more than four cups, if you want bolder flavour go with two minute ascending or tinker with the seconds. I try to just pass one brew with Gyokuro, most of the time the pickiness can’t handle another draw, and I rather not play by the clock with a Gyokuro.
Like any Japanese green it has a vegetable profile, but I agree that it is a soft, more “friendly” Gyokuro, not the menacing green giant in a cup ready to smack your mouth with its’ almost overwhelming beta-carotene rich flavor! The cup drew light green, granted a enjoyable fresh glasslike scent and delivered a flavour that glides through your mouth with a oceanic finish, leaving you wanting to tilt the cup again, I consider it refreshing.
Starting on a Gyokuro? This wouldn’t be a bad choice for a starter in my opinion. After the sample I would try this again if i was in the mood. It’s a great tea.
I discovered this tea, while looking for a viable organic Wuyi tea to make a staple. It’s a rather unknown vendor, but the tea arrived a little scathed through its’ simple loose packaging, something that affected their score.
I brewed this shy of a boil, on one minute ascending brews, in a prewarmed gaiwan. The leaf quality is dark, and rather questionable leaf size (maybe due to the packaging), but overall, large leaves with no contrast of green. This tea yields a rather more complex cup of Wuyi tea. It’s colour is darker than a normal Wuyi. A continuos honeylike taste, mixed in with my favorite earthy harmonizing notes, with appropriate amounts of muskiness, and a pea size amount of subtle smokiness. It ends with a sweet aftertaste.
I consider this a well rounded organic Wuyi, but it loses a bit too much body for me on it’s second cup, but its’ taste sets it separate from other Wuyi oolongs. I would drink this again if I wanted a bit of change in Wuyi. I would score this even or slightly higher to Zhi Tea’s Wuyi oolong, if the packaging was more appropriately handled, and could draw more cups.
In my opinion, Ti Kuan Yin is the tea people usually first think about when they hear “oolong” (pertaining to the green side of oolongs of course). I was given a bag of this for my birthday, and was happy with it.
This is a “less expensive” oolong, compared to other Iron Goddesses. It is a nice place for a beginner on oolongs who want to try Ti Kuan Yin. If you want Ti Kuan Yin but are a bit on a budget, this is a nice option if you do not have any local Chinese tea houses around you.
I brewed this in a prewarmed gaiwan. My ritual with oolongs, are one minute ascending brews. You can brew this at two minute ascending, if you wish. I discovered that you can skip the wash on this tea, as it only draws two (three is pushing it) cups before it starts loosing it’s complex body, but it still may lead into a fifth cup sometimes. Overall, this is an enjoyable cup, it has a flowery aroma that speaks in its’ pale-yellow green liquor. It is sweet, semi-deep with a very subtle vegetable note. Very smooth take and finish leaving you with an enjoyable aftertaste.
If you want a better quality Ti Kuan Yin, to draw out more cups, I suggest your local Chinese tea vendor, commonly by the Asian supermarket that happens to be in any average American town. Online tea vendors I suggest Red Blossom Tea Co. or Zhi Tea’s Iron Godess of Mercy (a bit deeper in it’s taste). If you like Ti Kuan Yin, try a roasted one! They are very delicious, and the better quality ones are usually Chinese and not Formosas.
Like other reviewers, Formosas are usually the champ, but Chinese oolongs, tend to have a more traditional make and process, some Formosas are also slightly flavored, so beware! To end this is a well rounded average TKY, there are other viable TKY’s that would score higher for me.
Damn fine cup of tea!
There may be technicality in naming this, since some traditionalists will argue, that English Breakfast is a blend of teas, and not a single estate. However I do not really care about that.To me, this is what English Breakfast is suppose to taste like! I cannot comprehend how well Zhi has chosen this tea.
I brew this in a 26 ounce white teapot with an infuser. It is just like any black: five minutes at boiling. It yields a full bodied dark amber cup with VERY subtle but appropriate notes of citrus, and smokiness, ending with a sweet and astringent finish. It is very hospitable as you drink, and warming in your soul. If you are sensitive to caffeine I suggest to wash tea with quick spot of hot water before brewing.
I love English Breakfast because is it incredibly versatile. It offers an affordable focus over a pricey oolong. Pair this in the morning with a apple, and you can forget about the cup of coffee. It’s caffeine is appropriate for an English Breakfast, nice and lengthy, but a gentle lift, if you need more kick try an Assam, or a Irish Breakfast. It is a safe bet to serve to guests who are tolerable with very mild caffeine, as I know some individuals can be so sensitive to it.
This takes milk well, even half and half if you want it more rich. I sometimes take mine with a spot of milk/half and half poured in first, pour the tea, and finish there or with a sweetener, like Turbinado sugar, honey or agave nectar. It is good as self-drinking tea, or with just a spot of sweetener.
In it’s versatility, it is a good tea to help you when you are feeling ill, but you urgently need to be somewhere. Somewhat like a natural Dayquil. It’s all simple as adding a squirt of lemon and some honey, and micro-pinch of salt in your cup (optional) and adjust to taste. Pop this in a thermos and drink throughout the day, it helps me stay focus. You will notice the more lemon you add the more the tea turns orangey-red.
This is a staple, that I order by the pound. It is a classic tea that deserves to be in your cupboard. The added bonus is that it comes from Zhi Tea, and it is produced organically and responsibly.
This makes a damn fine cup of tea! I consider this oolong to be a ‘tank’ as I brewed it for more than eight times, so much I couldn’t finish my last cup. The only reason why I don’t give it 100%, is because of it’s availability, it was often sold out in shop.
When you buy a Alishan/Lishan consider yourself buying concentrated tea leaves that are tanks! Kind of like how laundry detergent is concentrated to take out more loads of clothes, it is same thing, so it compensates for it’s price. I brewed this in a traditional prewarmed gaiwan. The water is prepared a little shy of boiling, or at a boil and I let it cool for a minute or two. I wash the leaves with a quick spot of the hot water, and dump. My ritual with oolongs is at one minute ascending brews. Like I said this tea is a tank, so after the fifth brew I start brewing with boiling water.
The resulting cup is aromatic with a sweet smell reminiscent of a Japanese green tea, which mirrors in it’s sweet, almost vegetably-complex taste. It has a smooth finish with a enjoyable lingering aftertaste. The leaf quality is amazing! Whole processed rolled leaves will open fully. It could rise above water level in whatever you’re brewing in.If you want to impress someone, or need a focus booster take this tea into consideration. Like all oolongs it does a number on delicate metabolisms. This tea actually makes me hungry! So not for a person curving portions out of their diet.
I am a fan of Japanese green teas, and I will say that this makes a DAMN fine cup of tea! The Sencha of my dreams. Pricey, exclusive, this is a very well rounded first flush.
I brew this when water steams up, with light bubbles. Around 200ºF-180ºF. I would treat this as brewing a Gyokuro. As with finer Japanese greens it is a picky brew, so adjust. I brew this with a 16 ounce traditional prewarmed clay Kyusu. Porcelainware is okay,cast iron will overheat it. I set the clock at ascending one minute brews, you could brew at two minute ascending to yield a fuller body, but it is easier to mess up, and the second brew tends to taste harsh.It yields a light green translucent cup, with a fresh oceanlike aroma. It has a more flavourful body than your normal Sencha, but still light in taste with vegetable complexity, and refreshing sweet finish. It’s leaf quality has high contrast between dark and light stems.
This is a nice finer than fine teas, if you appreciate Japanese greens. This is not for a beginner, many beginners will say Japanese greens taste like seaweed, cut grass, or over boiled spinach, but I do not consider it an acquired taste.
To be honest, I believe a cup of this tea is equal to putting a bar of soap into your mouth.
It may be a overstatement, but if you’re looking for a ‘real’ Earl Grey grab a tin of Twinings, or Rishi’s Supreme Earl Grey. I think many beginners on Earl Grey start out with this, from Adagio, believing it will deliver, and end up hating Earl Grey. Earl Grey Bravo to me, is much like a “Lady Grey”, which in my book, is suppose to be much more citrusy, and more floral than a normal Earl Grey, which is what Earl Grey Bravo is. If they would call it “Lady Grey Bravo”, I’d score this average, only cause I’m not a huge fan of Lady Greys to begin with.
If you want a Lady Grey from Adagio, grab this! (I guess).
If you do brew this, brew it like any black, five minutes, at boiling; if you find it too floral, I suggest cutting the amount of leaves, milk tends to help mellow out the citrus. It yeilds a very aromatic, lighter amber liquor.
I guess my lesson from this tea is that many tea drinkers don’t realize that Adagio’s reviews are somewhat unreliable because many Adagio customers JUST write reviews to gain discount codes.
This tea has become a staple for me.
Like most Wuyi oolongs, it is complex, honeylike with a very harmonizing earth note, which seems to be my favorite thing about Wuyi oolongs. This Wuyi has decent leaf quality, with a nice contrast of brown and dark green leaves.
I brew this shy of boiling, or boil, and let the water cool for a minute or two. I brew my Wuyi oolongs on one minute ascending brews starting at one minute. This tea in my opinion will start loosing significant body on its’ third brew, but its’ quality is good enough for six brews, where I find that it’s body is watered out.
I take this tea often at dinner, especially if I had a greasy meal. It pairs well with Dim Sum. Delicate metabolisms can have you running to the bathroom, as with most oolongs. Overall, if you’re looking for a little more than average ORGANIC Wuyi, this is what I would recommend.