Monday, February 9, 2015

Adagio Teas: Hunan Gold, A Tea Review

I really need to sit down and start work on my book. Yes, I have decided to write a tea book, I have been bandying the idea around for a while now and finally decided to do it after numerous people encouraged me to do it (thanks guys!) The only problem is setting down and deciding what I want it to be like. I was originally planning on having an all encompassing work of awesome, but Tony Gebely of World of Tea is already working on that (so excited for release!!) so now I am working on figuring out the tone, any thoughts potential readers? And research, currently my chart of teas from around the world is at 45 pages and so not close to being finished. You all know me and my obsession with research!

The first time I had this tea was back in 2012, that seems like forever ago, so I figured it was time to revisit it. At the time I was brewing tea primarily Western style, so I thought that brewing Adagio Teas' Hunan Gold in my antique gaiwan would be rather fun. So, this is a Yellow Tea, and in typical me fashion I went hunting down more info, and did not have much in the way of luck. I can tell you this is a yellow tea from Hunan, and that really is it, to make up for it I shall thoroughly describe my experience with these twisting, downy leaves. First up, the aroma is like spring time, specifically it evokes my favorite flower (ok one of them, I really love flowers) peony! It also has the aroma of delicate orange blossoms, chestnuts, and just a hint of mown grass and honey. The notes are delicate, reminding me more of a breeze bringing in these aromas through an open window rather than sitting next to a spring bouquet.

Brewing the leaves, I was greeted with the aroma of flowers and a bit of muscatel and briskness, Adagio compares this tea to a Darjeeling and I can see similarities between it and a first flush (or a yellow Darjeeling) though it is more floral than muscatel. The liquid lacks the muscatel, but is a powerhouse of peony (never realized how much I wanted to say that until now) along with some delicate freshly mown hay and orange blossoms.

First steep is pleasantly golden in color, I admit I was expecting a lighter tea, but this color is really pretty so I am totally ok with it. There is a similarity to Darjeeling, a bit muscatel and like nasturtium, though the similarity is fairly mild. The real show stopper with this tea is peony, more teas need to taste like peony! I love that not quite heady spring aroma and taste that peony notes give to a tea, it makes me immensely happy. There are also notes of corn fluff (as I like to call corn silk) and bok choy.

Steeping again, the aroma is still a peony powerhouse, but it is happily joined by nasturtium and mown hay, that peppery nasturtium note is killing me. I really need to try and grow some this year, I am terrible at gardening. The taste is very similar to the first steep, with just a bit more nasturtium and bok choy. At the end there is a brisk note and a honey aftertaste.

Third steep, honestly it was totally indistinguishable from the second, I do not feel like I actually had a different cup, perhaps I accidentally fell into a very strange time loop! As the tea cools I do notice that the peony note is stronger and lingers into the aftertaste. Overall I really like this tea, like a lot, I think it might have to be one I keep around for peony emergencies.

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