Yes! I ordered a good 18 samples of Adagio’s teas when we got our UtiliTEA kettle (which is fantastic – if only Steepster had equipment reviews!), having never tried that brand before and being enticed by the low price of admission, and thought just about every one I’ve tried so far was thoroughly boring, good but not great and that’s just unacceptable in a DavidsTea world. Every one of those were blacks and oolongs (the latter my favorite variety and therefore the lion’s share of the samples I ordered) until getting to the delicious vanilla green, and between that and this white cucumber I think my judgment of Adagio might be changing.
A vaguely unpleasant scent from the leaves set my expectations pretty low, but the vinegary notes vanished in hot water to make way for a very recognizable white tea scent. To be honest, if you had me smell the liquor without knowing what it was, I’d guess this was a plain Silver Needle – albeit an old one, but still pretty quality stuff. There’s a very pleasant vegetal edge that more than makes up for the discouraging nose from the leaves.
I normally steep white teas one or two minutes and no more. Adagio’s instructions on the types-of-tea leaflet you can expect to find in any shipment encourage you to steep theirs for as much as seven (!) minutes because the flavor needs that time to come out, which just sounds downright heretical to me. The cucumber white’s bag recommends a more modest 3-5 minutes, so I shook off the innate resistance to doing so and gave the infusion a solid four. Fortunately, that time didn’t end up making my cup bitter, and I’m intrigued to try a few different times with this tea.
In fact, the flavor is really, really good. I’m a big cucumber fan so I was expecting to at least like the tea despite how odd it sounds, but I found myself loving each sip more than the last. I’m not sure I would describe the flavor as cucumber in a blind taste test, but it definitely tastes crisp and vegetal on top of the fantastic mild earth tones that mark white tea. The liquor is more golden than most whites, likely due to the long steep.
My cup’s been cooling down as I sip it writing this review, as hot beverages are wont to do, and the scent and taste both are getting stronger and closer to the tea’s name. I still love each sip more than the last, as I mentioned in the opening of this review. Color me impressed; I’m excited to get to Adagio’s other whites shortly.