Friday, February 20, 2015

Adagio Teas: Anhui Emerald Seed, A Tea Review

Painting update, for those who are following along in my Dropzone Commander Scourge painting adventure. I am almost finished with the red 'veins' then I need to do a blue wash, then some bone detailing, then wash those and then I will be done! Well that is not entirely true, I will be done with everything but the Desolator, which I am going to make into an epic showcase piece along with it being a my command unit. That monstrosity is possibly my favorite miniature ever because it is a space cuttlefish and for extra geek points looks like a Reaper from Mass Effect, sadly I cannot just love it and call it Harbinger though since once of Scourge's other units is a Harbinger...and there is also a Reaper. Ok, that is enough of me geeking out.

I lied, I am going to geek out about tea now, like I do! Today's subject of geeking out is Adagio Tea's Anhui Emerald Seed, their name for Lu An Gua Pian, which translates to Lu An Melon Seed, alluding to the shape of their leaves. Most green teas are all about the first leaf, but these leaves are the second leaves with their veins removed and then rolled to give them their fun shape. It has a lengthy history, first showing up in texts during the Tang Dynasty and being a tribute tea during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The aroma of the leaves is a delicate blend of green beans and sesame seeds with a touch of spicebush flowers and hyacinth. There is also a tiny hint of chestnut at the finish, the aroma notes are not the strongest, but they are pleasant in their delicateness.

So here is where I might make my tea drinking friends do a double take, I brewed this in my green tea seasoned Yixing teapot. Yes, I did it, I have been debating over a year, having heard heard that it can make the tea taste muddied due to the clay retaining too much heat, but I also heard you never truly know a green until you Yixing it. I do not regret my decision, drinking greens brewed in a Yixing teapot is amazing, sometime in the near future I plan on doing a side by side comparison with Yixing and Gaiwan. The aroma of the leaves in the pot are much more green now, with notes of artichoke, asparagus, green beans, bok choy, and a tiny bit of sesame seeds. The liquid got all the floral and sweet notes from the dry leaves, with spicebush, hyacinth, and honey drenched sesame seeds being the predominant notes. There is a bit of green at the finish, so it is not a huge contrast.

The taste is refreshing, it starts with a blend of melon (specifically faint honeydew) and cucumber. This transitions to grass and artichoke, and then it finishes out with sweet sesame seeds and honey. The mouthfeel is very smooth, a midway between creamy and silky, I am really fond of the mouthfeel, it matches the refreshing taste of the tea.

The aroma of the second steep is this interesting blend of vegetal and floral, like one half green beans and artichoke, the other half hyacinth and honeysuckles. It is like Two Face (Ben is playing Arkham Asylum, so Batman on the brain right now.) The taste is really similar to the first, like almost identical flavor notes, well, kinda. It is like someone took the exact same flavor notes and where the intensity was at a 6 before it is now at an 8 (scale not to scale) so that is fun. The aftertaste now has a lingering floral tone to it, which I am always a fan of.

Steep three time! The aroma is a bit of sweet and a bit of vegetal, again blending floral and green in a fun little dance of notes. The taste is not as intense or diverse as the previous steep, it starts out with a touch of spicebush and sesame seeds, then a fun bit of bell pepper and artichoke, and lastly a finish of honey that does not linger over long. Now, is this the best Lu An Gua Pian I have ever had, no, but it is certainly delicious and a good everyday kinda melon seed.

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