7 Tasting Notes
I got this tea as a “mystery bag” with my regular What-Cha purchase.
The appearance of the dry leaves are surprisingly green! Dark, forest-y green mixed in with blacks and browns. Like most rolled teas, it takes a few infusions before the leaves completely unfurl themselves, but they’re very smaller leaves, not many broken pieces.
It’s a mild tea for being a black. Light roasty notes, very nutty. There’s that slight bit of grassy depth you get from certain green teas that I can taste creeping in the back. Even though I’m brewing this gaiwan style for very short periods, my pulls seem to be ever so slightly bitter. Not astringent at all really.
It’s definitely not a bad tea at all. I think I’m just starting to learn that these lighter trending blacks just don’t have the maltiness that I’m looking for, and if we’re going that route, I’d rather have an oolong.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Nutty, Roasted
Brewed with my gaiwan, the look of this tea makes you think, “Wow, dark.” Tiny black leaves unfold into rust-brown leaves, not broad but thin. The smell is very hard to decipher at first, slightly malty or maybe caramel with an overall roasty smell.
It’s a very mild tea, contrary to what you’d expect from those tiny, dark and tightly dried leaves. I would almost agree with the others and call it a weak black. It’s lacking that full-bodied depth and richness that you come to expect from a good black tea. (I even accidentally oversteeped my gaiwan for about 8 minutes before on this tea, and it still tasted very mild alongside all the astringency.)
However for tasting notes themselves, I definitely get the chocolate notes that are advertised. Deep, dark chocolate, maybe even like a coffee kind of taste. The issue is it feels very far away, lost in a muddle of undefinable mildness. Now I know some people don’t like a bold black, and this might be perfect for someone like that. It’s not a bad tea at all, the flavors are appealing but I just want so much more from it. Not my favorite.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate
I always have an interesting time trying to brew these in my gaiwan, because the leaves are SO tightly rolled. The second steep always runs the best for me.
First of all, my favorite thing about this tea is the look of it. Ali Shan has the most beautiful leaf-lay when you’re done steeping. Talk about a picture perfect leaf. Gorgeous large, wrinkled green leaves that fill up the entire gaiwan after only being a tiny amount to start with. The liquor is a light amber/green and it’s beautifully translucent. A very pretty tea.
The initial aroma is vegetal but not in a lawn-clippings king of way, it’s very approachable. It’s more of a mossy, wet river rocks kind of smell. The smell is a lot less floral than the actual taste, however.
The taste is delightfully buttery, smooth, more like a green than an oolong at some points. The second steep always carries more of the floral aspects than the first. There’s aspects of honeysuckle that like to peek out in the different infusions. The taste changes so much because there’s a decent amount of stem material in the tea that infuse a little less or more depending on the state of unfurl the leaf is in.
It’s a relaxing tea, a mind clearer. I always seem to come back to it even though I have left Adagio for other companies. Maybe when I run out I might go back for a little more.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Green, Honeysuckle, Vegetal
I love silver needles. This is my third try of a regional silver needle, and they are all so different it’s shocking.
The Yunnan Silver Needle has a delicate grassy smell, with light hints of something more leafy and green. Very savory, I would compare it to a vegetable soup broth.
It’s a sweeter silver needle, slightly fruity. There’s definitely a sweet corn-like taste that’s very appealing. Smooth mouthfeel, not as supple as the Kenyan Silver Needle, but definitely acres better than the Nepal Silver Needle. The smokiness at the end is very subtle, so don’t go comparing this to a lapsang souchong. I think the savory sweetness of this one might have won me over, though. This is such a friendly little white.
Flavors: Cedar, Dandelion, Kettle Corn, Smoke, Sweet, warm grass
First impression of the aroma – Wow nutty. Very nutty on the nose with the slightest bit of a vegetal smell.
Very full-bodied taste. Nutty, very slight bitterness but not astringent. What smelled kind of vegetal tastes more floral, probably like a jasmine taste. It doesn’t have that full sensation of covering all of the tastebuds on my tongue like other teas though. Very focused on the back of the tongue.
Second infusion is brilliantly better than the first, as usual for me. A lot more sweetness comes in at the second, and less of the bitterness. Not a bad tea to get cozy with.
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Nutty
The leaves are a mix of broad leaves and a lot of stems and twigs that make for a very interesting and complex combination. The aroma comes off very woodsy and rich but the taste is much sweeter than the smell. Delicious floral front with a slightly oaky aftertaste. I would even say there’s a bit of a plum or raisin taste lingering at the front.
Flavors: Floral, Oak wood, Plant Stems, Plums, Raisins