Archive for April, 2010

Tea of the Week – Wuyi Da Hong Pao

Name: Wuyi Da Hong Pao

Type:  Oolong

Region:  China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $29 for maestro sampler set (4 teas)

First Impressions:  Dark Leaves, roasted smell

Review:

The last in my maestro set #2 from adagio, Wuyi Da Hong Pao is the first oolong tea I have tried.  Somewhere between black and green tea, oolong should be interesting.  Wuyi Da Hong Pao smells a lot like most greens, but with a little bit darker, almost roasted touch.  The taste was mellow and warm.  It definitely fits right between green and black teas, with a strong taste but a nice smooth finish.  The flavors are woody and roasted; the aftertaste is long lasting, but not unpleasant.  A good tea, I wish I had more experience with oolong teas so that I had something to compare it to, but I guess that will come with time.

My Rating:
3.5 / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

*Disclosure (AND Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from Adagio to preview.

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Tea of the Week – Yunnan Golden Pu Erh

Name: Yunnan Golden Pu Erh

Type:  Black

Region:  Yunnan, China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $29 for maestro sampler set (4 teas)

First Impressions:  Unpleasant smell!

Review:

This is an interesting tea.  While it’s listed by adagio as a black tea, it’s technically a “Pu Erh” or fermented tea.  I wasn’t even really aware of this type of tea and found a lot of interesting information about it on the Wikipedia article.  Apparently this type of tea is better aged, and you can still find some from as far back as the Qing Dynasty.  As far as the tea itself goes, while interesting, I didn’t find it overly enjoyable.  I just couldn’t get past the rather pungent smell it puts off, although it does mellow some with brewing.  The flavor itself was pleasant enough.  It was slightly different than most black teas.  It wasn’t bitter, more of a clear slightly nutty taste.  Overall I would say definitely try it for the experience, but don’t get a large amount.  It’s different enough to be interesting the first few drinks, but not good enough to want after that.

My Rating:
2.5 / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

*Disclosure (AND Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from Adagio to preview.

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Tea of the Week – Anhui Keemun

Name: Anhui Keemun

Type:  Black

Region:  China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $29 for maestro sampler set (4 teas)

First Impressions:  Tiny Leaves, very slight grassy smell

Review:

My second tea from the Maestro Collection, Anhui Keeman is another hit.  The tea leaves were very tiny and didn’t give off a very strong smell, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  This tea has a nice smooth smoky taste that really goes down well.  There is a slight woody taste that complements the smokiness very nicely.  I find that with most black teas I prefer them with a bit of sugar to sweeten them up and take the bitter edge off, but this one was great plain.

My Rating:
3.5 / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

*Disclosure (AND Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from Adagio to preview.

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Book: The Way of Tea

The Way of Tea

The Sublime Art of Oriental Tea Drinking
by Master Lan Kam Chuen

This is my first book review, so please bear with me, and any feedback is always appreciated!

In search of a way to learn more about tea and its history, the first book I chose was “The Way of Tea” by Master Lan Kam Chuen.  Overall I found it to be a good introduction to tea, and I learned a lot that I didn’t know before.  The book was broken into four sections: Tea Story, Cultivating Tea, Tea Time, and Healing Teas.

Tea Story was all about the history of tea and how it became to be so popular.  This was an interesting section that went into the basic history and lore of tea without getting into so much detail that it felt like I was reading a history textbook.  It deals primarily with China but also included sections detailing the various tea customs from other areas like Korea, Thailand, and Russia.  It also has a fairly short section on how the tea trade grew in popularity in Europe.  I really liked all of the pictures of ancient artifacts and paintings here.

The second section, Cultivating Tea, deals with the different types of teas and how they are prepared.  This was probably my favorite section.  It begins with an overview of the tea plant itself (Camellia Sinesnsis).  It also has a detailed section about the process of preparing tea, both historically and today.  It concluded with a fairly detailed explanation of the differences between the types of tea (green vs. black etc).

The third and fourth sections were only of passing interesting to me.  the third dealt with the traditional “Kung fu” tea ceremony that many practice when drinking tea, and included detailed instructions.  This was kind of neat to page through, but I had no real interest in trying to learn how to do this.  The fourth section is an overview of different herbal teas and what types to drink for certain ailments.  While I don’t discount the possibility that some of these may work, it isn’t a subject I am overly interested in right now.

Overall, I thought this was a good book.  It provides a nice introduction to tea culture and history without getting so heavy that it isn’t fun to read.  The illustrations and photographs were awesome, and I would recommend you at least page through it to see some of them.

Well that’s it – my first book review on teageek.org, let me know what you think!

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

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Tea of the Week – Yunnan Golden Curls

Name: Yunnan Golden Curls

Type:  Black

Region:  Yunnan, China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $29 for maestro sampler set (4 teas)

First Impressions:  Hay Smell, Softer leaves

Review:

First let me just say I was very excited to try the maestro collection, and my first tea, Yunnan Golden Curls, didn’t disappoint.  It is a black tea although the leaves were very light in color.  The “hay” smell that the raw tea gives off is totally different from the scents of the brewed tea.  Once brewed it has a wonderful nutty/smoky smell.  The taste was very good, a mellow black without almost no bitterness.  It has a smoothness that a lot of black teas are missing.  One note: I did prefer it with the shorter brew time of 3-4 minutes (The label says 3-5); when I let it go the full 5 minutes it did pick up a bit of a bitter over-brewed taste.  Overall, it was an interesting black and a good all around tea.  Can’t wait to try some more!

My Rating:
3.5 / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

*Disclosure (AND Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from Adagio to preview.

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Adagio Maestro Collection Sneak Peek!

Hey Everybody -
I am excited to let you know that I just got my free samples of adagio’s upcoming maestro collection!  I was chosen for a preview of the new collection of 8 premium teas they are releasing April 10th. I will be reviewing the first later this week – look for them!

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

P.S. – If your interested in ordering these before they are “officially” released, you can check them out here: http://www.adagio.com/maestro/ (Shh, don’t tell)

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