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.

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.

Tea of the Week – Irish Breakfast

Name:  Irish Breakfast

Type:  Black

Region:  Sri Lanka and India

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a 10-cup sample

First Impressions:  Strong, Dark

Review:

Since today was St Patty’s day I thought it would be fitting to try the Irish breakfast that I hadn’t had a chance to drink.  It was a good morning drink, a strong black tea, but not bitter.   Like it’s name it was a lot like the English Breakfast that I enjoy, but a little lighter.  Looked it up and found that it’s a blend of Ceylon from Sri Lanka and Assam from India.  I really liked it with a touch of milk, it smoothed it out nicely.  In the end I think I like English Breakfast a little better, but this would do in a pinch!

My Rating:
3 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – Blood Orange

Name: Blood Orange

Type:  Black

Region:  Ceylon Region of China

Bought At: Tea Gschwendner

Price:  50g for $4.90

First Impressions: Strong citrus smell, lots of orange pieces

Review:

The final tea in the first month of my tea tasting experiment came from a new company to me, Tea Gschwendner.  A German company that has a wide variety of tea, I hadn’t heard of them until I received this and a few other teas for Christmas from a coworker.  (As a side note I love tea as a present because you can give / get something that you wouldn’t normally try)  As for this particular tea, I was a little disappointed.  It has an almost overpowering citrus scent, but the actual citrus flavor left much to be desired.  It was a decent tea, but compared to the scent it gives off it was very tame.  There was almost no orange flavor and the Ceylon tea they used as a base isn’t remarkable.  It calls for a shorter steep time than I would normal do, but didn’t get bitter when I left it in a little longer than they recommend.  Overall it was a decent tea, but nothing to write home about.

My Rating:

2.5 / 5

Tea of the Week – Earl Grey Bravo

Name:  Earl Grey Bravo

Type:  Black

Region:  Yunnan region of China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a 10 cup sample

First Impressions:  Strong Citrus Smell

Review:

Wow!  This was a lot better than I was expecting.  Maybe because of the poor reputation for tea and England in the States, I always thought that “Earl Grey” would be dull and bland.  How wrong I was!  The sweet citrus smell given off by the tea leads to an equally pleasing taste.  Definitely the most tasteful black tea of the Adagio sampler I have been going through.  I wish I could tell you how it tasted with a little milk and sugar, I enjoyed it so much plain that I didn’t want to try it!  Probably the Black tea I will be recommending to new tea drinkers, not once did I get even a hint of bitterness off it.

My Rating: 4/5

Tea of the Week – Yunnan Jig

Name:  Yunnan Jig

Type:  Black

Region:  Yunnan region of China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $3 for a 10-cup sample

First Impressions:  Sweet Smelling, Large Leaves

Review:

My second attempt at new black teas was Yunnan Jig.  After the pleasant surprise of enjoying last week’s English Breakfast so much, maybe my expectations were just too high.  Yunnan Jig had a little bit sweeter smell than some black teas, but other than that nothing really jumped out at me.  It wasn’t too bitter, although it did have the slight hint that accompanies some black teas.  There just didn’t seem to be anything going for it.   I was also disappointed that there was no sweetness that I was expecting given its aroma.  While I didn’t mind drinking it, it wasn’t something that I was really enjoying either.  Definitely a mellow black tea, I found it a little lacking.

My Rating:  2 / 5

Tea of the Week – English Breakfast

Name: English Breakfast

Type: Black

Region: Anhui region of China

Bought At: Adagio.com

Price: $3 for a 10-cup sample

First Thoughts: Strong, Dark

Review:

While I normally enjoy lighter teas – green being my favorite, I decided to try some black teas this month and my first pick was adagio’s “English Breakfast.”  From first brew you can tell it is a strong black tea.  It had a very strong aroma – not sweet at all, but still pleasant.  It tasted a lot like what you would expect.  It isn’t sweet like the green teas I have tried, but it also didn’t have quite as much “bite” as some other black teas.  I found that I enjoyed it best as a pick me up in the morning.  I also really enjoyed it in the afternoon with just a little bit of milk and sugar.  The milk and sugar really ease out the last hint of bitterness and make for a really smooth cup.  It actually reminded me quite a bit of coffee, and might make for a good “transition tea” for anybody trying to switch.  One note: be careful when you brew it, even a little extra time can make it very bitter very fast.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5