Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Adagio Teas: Masters Collection Part 1, A Tea Review

Guess who is lost in Mass Effect: Andromeda world? Yes, it is me, Ben's days off have been totally consumed with ME:A, and I have been enjoying it. Don't get me wrong, the game has some serious issues, but overall I am really enjoying it and wish Ben would hurry up with his playthrough so I can have mine! In other geeky news, Amonkhet spoilers and story has started, and I am so happy, the story was enjoyable but my big 'on pins and needles' about concern was that the mummies will be creature type mummy and not creature type zombie, meaning I can't use my tribal shenanigans with them, but they are type zombie! I will probably just make a dedicated mummy deck since my current zombie deck is fine the way it is, but I like that I can mix and match my undead. If anyone is curious, the undead favorite hierarchy for me is: mummy, skeleton, spirit, lich, and zombie...and that is just because zombies are wet and smelly, mummies are just better zombies.

Recently Adagio Teas contacted me about reviewing their tea and sent me a gift card, I was going to get one of the Masters Collection gift sets, but each of them had a tea I was not really interested in trying, so I made my own! This is the first half of the six teas I selected, Yunnan  Pu Erh White, Hsinchu Oriental Beauty, and Anhui Keemun Tea, all types of tea I am very fond of!

The first one I looked at was the Anhui Keemun, I love Keemun, it is one of my favorites (ok, why do I keep saying this, I love hongcha and need to stop pretending I have favorites) hongchas. I tried their Keemun Concerto before and was not impressed by it, it was not bad just completely unmemorable, so I was curious if their Masters Collection one was better. The aroma of the Anhui Keemun is sweet, notes of berries and brown sugar with an undertone of sage. Yes, sage, this is a note I have noticed with all the Masters Collection teas, even the Yunnan Gold Curls I got months ago, it smells like they have been contaminated but I have no idea how since they are in sealed tins, mysterious mysteries. Brewing the tea takes away any of those peculiar sage notes and just presents berries, brown sugar, and a hint of cocoa.

I can see why this one is in the Masters Collection, as it is a pretty solid tea. Sweet with long notes of lychees, berries, and brown sugar in the first steep. The second steep brings in a touch of malt and earthiness akin to wet leather. The third steep is mostly berries (specifically dried blueberries) and lychees, but it is fading...fast. Three steeps is pretty much all you get, so it does not really pass my longevity test. I made Ben a mug of it western style and it was quite strong, the mentioned smokiness is present when brewed in that manner, though it is very light, more the memory of a fire several days old. It is a decent daily drinker, and considering the sizes they offer are a 10 cup sample tin or 5oz, it would have to be a daily drinker because that is not a small amount of tea.

Next up is the Hsinchu Oriental Beauty, the Masters Collection version of the Formosa Bai Hao, which I looked at previously. I absolutely LOVE Oriental Beauty, it has its own Yixing (not that that is much to brag about since I have more clay pots than sense) and I might be a little harsh on OB's that don't meet my lofty standards. This one smells of dried apples and sage (seriously where is that sage coming from?) that is pretty much it. The aroma does not leave me feeling hopeful. After brewing the aroma is still mostly just dried apples with a bit of a dried autumn leaf note.

I made a pot of this to share with Ben, since he is also pretty obsessed with OB, he tasted it and asked 'are you sure this is an OB? Because it tastes nothing like one' and he was right. It tasted like apples and a bit of sweet distant floral notes, and sage. I only got two steeps out of this tea before it went from slightly apple flavored to vague leaf water, it was a serious disappointment that left me craving OB more than ever. So sadly this one was not for me.

Last for this section was the Yunnan Pu Erh White, and no, I really don't care about the argument of whether or not Yunnan silver needles are white tea or puerh, I treat it as a silver needle, I know some people can get very passionate about that debate and I am definitely not one of them. The aroma of the fuzzy and nicely sized needles is one of lettuce, peony blossoms, and sage. The sage this time doesn't bother me since white tea frequently smells herbacous to me, so everything seems normal. After steeping the tea gets a bit of a sweet corn and melon note along with the ones present in the dry leaves.

I will admit, this was my favorite of the three. It has a wonderfully clean and smooth mouthfeel, a sweet taste, and it lasts five steeps. The notes present are pleasantly floral, peony and wildflowers blend with lettuce and sage, and it only gets sweeter in the later steeps. I decided to play around with this tea a bit and do the slightly crazy steeping at almost boiling for a whopping 15 minutes and what I got was a sweetcorn, peony, and lettuce tea with a thick mouthfeel. Have I mentioned I like doing crazy things with white teas because they can totally handle it?

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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