It is very satisfying to reach for a tin of tea, pop off the top, and be rewarded with the sight of fresh tea spilling out. That was the first thing I noticed about the samples I ordered from Adagio Teas—they were filled to the brim and aesthetically pleasing, like something I’d want to give a friend. By default I’m suspicious of fancy tea packaging, as too often it hides a less-than-superior product. I’m glad to report that’s not the case with Adagio Teas. The high quality of their product matches the thoughtfulness of their fine packaging, which even includes steeping instructions on the bottom.
Adagio Teas is a small, family business from New Jersey. They started their tea business in 1999 as a mom and two sons, Sophie Kreymerman, Michael, and Ilya. Nowadays they’ve grown beyond a three-person shop and sell their teas to other businesses as well as consumers.
I wanted to try their Masters Collection, because go big or go home, right? Their Masters collection delivered what the title promised.
A very lightly oxidized Taiwanese oolong made of twisted, long leaves that expand on multiple steepings to release their flavour. The liquor was pale gold-green. What stood out the most on sipping was its strong aroma—a floral nose, what formosa pouchongs are known for. Buttery, sweet, and with that nice floral hit that reminded me of walking into the botanical gardens greenhouse in San Francisco.
The potential for multiple steeps also brings variation in flavour with each steep. Of the three teas, this was my favourite.
Suggested preparation: 90˚ , 3 minutes if you’re in a rush. Or enjoy multiple steeps, starting with 30 seconds and increasing the length each time.
You can find Adagio Tea’s Formosa Pouchong here.
Zhejiang Lung Ching
Also known as ‘Dragon Well’ green tea, Lung Ching comes from Zhejiang province and is a traditional, Chinese pan-fried green tea. Available in a variety of grades, Adagio Teas makes this one with spring leaves, and had a sweet, crisp taste that reminded me of snap peas.
This mellow, slightly floral, and sweet green tea would be a good starter for someone looking to get into Chinese green teas, as it’s not too bitter or astringent.
Suggested preparation: 80˚C, 3 minutes.
You can find Adagio Tea’s Zhejiang Lung Ching here.
Yunnan Pu Erh White
An interesting pu erh made from the fuzzy, white early leaf buds from Yunnan trees typically reserved for making traditional pu erh. Pu erh is a fermented tea, kind of like wine, which means that unlike other types of tea, where you’d search for the freshest product, with pu erh, vintage can mean a more developed flavour.
This white pu erh is a 2012 harvest. It’s liquor was a bright, peachy colour, and tasted like wildflower honey with a bit of sweet hay. This is another one where you should try multiple steeps to really open the buds up and enjoy the flavour as it develops.
Suggested preparation: 90˚C, 5 minutes. Or, multiple steeps.
You can find Adagio Tea’s Yunnan Pu Erh White here.