Tea Time 4: Adagio Teas: Yunnan style

This weekend we’ve tried two of the three Yunnan teas from Adagio. The one we didn’t try, the Yunnan Gold, is supposed to be the best of the three, but it didn’t come in the sampler packs we ordered.

Sample: Yunnan Jig by Adagio Teas

Description: Black tea from the Yunnan province of China, the birthplace of tea itself. Yunnan black tea is easily identified by its abundance of soft golden tips, and savory cocoa and black pepper flavors. It is a very forgiving tea; will not taste bitter when over-steeped. Our Yunnan Jig has a sweet, almost creamy aroma. Rich and savory flavor, with a slight cocoa powder finish. Earthy and spicy and soft, smooth mouthfeel and finish. Classic Yunnan.

Preparation: Steeped for 4 minutes with water at 212 according to our new electric kettle.

Review: Right off the bat, Yami noticed an odd floral scent that didn’t bode well for the taste of the thing if previous reviews are any predictor. A first sip seemed watery, without much flavor, but it had a spicy/peppery aftertaste she found to be a pretty good sign. The addition of milk and sugar for her lead to a creamy, smooth taste she actually found pleasant. Kae pointed out it was by far not nearly as bitter as the other teas we’ve been having. Chaos claimed he can “actually stand this one, and that’s before the sugar!” Nobody could taste much of these “cocoa” notes, and with milk the pepper notes went away.

Would Buy? This is a good, basic tea, nothing special to it. As such, Yami would buy it again as a go-to staple tea, possibly to add chai seasonings to; Kae wouldn’t because he could buy tea just as good much cheaper at a supermarket, as he considers this to taste like bag tea. (Yami disagrees with that assessment.) Chaos wouldn’t buy it, mostly because “it still has a very strong aftertaste of ‘tea’”. Yami surmises he means bitter/astringent.

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Sample: Yunnan Noir

Description: Black tea from the Yunnan province of China, the birthplace of tea itself. Much of the tea in this southern province is a large leaf variety. Mountains veiled in mist, with clean water and rich soil form ideal growing conditions and contribute to the unique flavor. Our Yunnan Noir is a hand-rolled tea, with leaves tightly curled into a ‘black snail’ shape. The aroma is sweet with hints of honey and spice. Savory and winey on the palate, with smooth, deep fruity astringency, tremendous depth of flavor, cinnamon bark and nutmeg in the finish. Terrifically textured cup of tea.

Preparation: Steeped for 5 minutes at 212F

Review: Yami felt the first sip tasted identical to the first sip of the Yunnan Jig, except with a more bitter aftertaste. Kae and Chaos both tasted the bitterness strongly as well. Three sugars didn’t help much — as Kae put it, “The sugar is powerless against the power of Noir”. Vanilla soymilk did more, but the aftertaste remained dark and strong. Kae noted an almost coffee taste to it, and surmises that it’d be good for a coffee drinker who wants to switch or a black tea drinker who wants a lot of caffeine. Of the supposed flavors, he noted only the cinnamon in his finished cup.

Would Buy? None of us liked it enough to purchase.

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