Adagio recently launched their Masters Tea Collection intending to deliver the freshest and finest specialty teas. The teas offered are a limited edition from a small production and are launched as they are finished processing and shipped to the Adagio’s headquarters.
The Masters Tea Collection website is pretty user-friendly and very informative. They feature the farmers of every tea to connect the consumers and understand where the tea came from. They also showcase the regions where the teas come from, making it easy to learn a bit about some regions and the tea types produced there. You can shop by tea type, by farmer or by region.
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Overall, I am very pleased with the samples I got from their collection and the quality of the teas. I believe this is a great bridge for people looking to expand their tea knowledge, explore and learn more about tea. One of the things I appreciate the most about Adagio, which also applies to this Masters Tea Collection, is the fact that they sell samples. This allows consumers to try these specialty teas without having to spend large amounts of money and taking the risk of not liking them.
Masters Tea Collection Sample Reviews
All tea tastings were done using 6-7oz of Trader Joe’s Artesian water (read about different bottled water to make tea). The specifics of brewing times, steeping temperatures and the amount of tea leaves used are detailed under every tea review.
Shincha Gyokuro (April 2019)
Brewing: 6 gms at 140F for 3:30 minutes *using 4oz of water
Origin: Shizuoka, Japan
Dry leaves: Dark green needle-like, flat leaves with a grassy and seaweedy yet slightly floral aroma.
Liquor: Very pale and bright lemon-lime.
Aroma: Seaweed and green apples.
Texture & Flavor: Smooth and coating yet a little astringent. Brothy, umami and cooked greens notes.
Personal Note: This leaf to water ratio is my preferred way of drinking Gyokuro. This way you will get a power umami flavor from it unlike brewing let’s say 2 gms at 180F for 3 minutes using 6oz of water, where you’ll get a much thinner version of it and less umami. I recommend you to try both methods and see what you prefer. I used to drink it in a more ‘Western’ style with fewer leaves and more water and once I learned how to drink it in a more traditional Japanese style, I can never go back. If you’d like to learn more, I recommend to check out this video on how to brew Gyokuro.
Yu Quian Anji Bai Cha (April 2019)
Brewing: 2 gms at 170F for 3 minutes
Origin: Zhejiang, China
Dry leaves: Sweet fruity and floral, cut grass aroma. Straight, spear-like shape, made from young leaves and buds.
Liquor: Pale, lemony yellow.
Aroma: Spinachy, vegetal, fruity.
Texture & Flavor: Fresh and smooth, medium-bodied. Light grassy and umami with some vegetal and floral notes.
Personal Note: Delicate and complex, this tea is great for those who appreciate delicate white teas, lightly oxidized Oolong and smoother green teas. Refreshing and calming. The second infusion is weaker, much more grassy and less creamy with a brisk finish.
Shi Feng Long Jing (April 2019)
Brewing: 3 gms at 170F for 2.5 minutes
Origin: Zhejiang, China
Dry leaves: Flat, large, light green leaves. Grassy and nutty aroma.
Liquor: Pale, greenish-yellow, almost colorless.
Aroma: Vegetal, brothy and nutty.
Texture & Flavor: Smooth, light-bodied with no astringency. It has nut and vegetable notes and a tingling finish.
Personal Note: Dragonwell is one of China’s most famous teas. This particular one is very light and delicate, aromatic and smooth. When brewed, it feels more vegetal and grassy, but when it cools down, it feels brothier and nutty. You are left with an empty cup that has a sweet candy aroma.
Muzha Tie Guan Yin (April 2019)
Brewing: 7 gms at 212F for 3 minutes
Origin: Wen Shan, Taiwan
Dry leaves: Dark brown, ball-rolled leaves with a deep toasty aroma.
Liquor: Dark amber-copper.
Aroma: Chocolate, honey, wet rocks and slightly nutty.
Texture & Flavor: Medium-bodied, smooth with a lingering mineral aftertaste. Rich chocolate, hazelnut, and mineral notes.
Personal Note: This is an excellent roasted Oolong with chocolate and nutty notes but quite mineral too. After the first infusion, the leaves were not completely open so you can see that you have more steeps left that will yield a great cup. The second infusion was very toasty, nutty and still had chocolate notes with a mineral aftertaste.
Ali Shan Special (April 2019)
Brewing: 7 gms at 200F for 4 minutes
Origin: Ali Shan, Taiwan
Dry leaves: Tightly rolled dark and bright green. Delightful fruity-floral aroma.
Liquor: Bright light yellow.
Aroma: Starts with a spinachy, nori and a bit floral aroma and it gets more floral when it starts to cool down.
Texture & Flavor: Thick and creamy with no astringency. Fresh and sweet with a clean finish, complex. Vegetal and floral notes.
Personal Note: This is one of my favorite teas! A complex, silky, buttery rich and such fresh tea. The second steep feels even creamier and more buttery with less vegetality to it and more floral notes.
Formosa Fancy Bai Hao (May 2018)
Brewing: 5 gms at 195F for 3:30 minutes
Origin: Wen Shan, Taiwan
Dry leaves: deep fruity aroma.
Liquor: Golden orange.
Aroma: Honey and sweet, floral with a slight woodiness.
Texture & Flavor: Smooth and thick with no astringency. Floral and sweet with some wood and mineral undertones.
Personal Note: Also known as Oriental Beauty, this tea is a treat! This particular one has mid-oxidation levels and the specific processing this tea goes through increases the aromatics and fragrance. For the second infusion, I forgot I was steeping it and left it for close to 5 minutes. Such a forgiving tea! This second infusion was again very smooth with less woody and more fruity and honey notes with a lingering mineral finish.
Jin Kong Que (April 2019)
Brewing: 3 gms at 205F for 2:30 min.
Origin: Yunnan, China
Dry leaves: As soon as you encounter the leaves you’re blown away by their strong caramel, honey, and fruity aroma. The wet leaves have a deep chocolate aroma.
Liquor: Bright copper.
Aroma: Honey, sweet potato, apple pie.
Texture & Flavor: For a black tea, it is soft and just slightly astringent with a medium body (as are many other Chinese black teas). It has chocolate and honey notes and a hint of toastiness.
Personal Note: I really enjoy smoother and less astringent black teas, so if this is your jam it’s an absolute must! For the second infusion I only steeped for 2 minutes and the liquor was a much darker color. This infusion was smoother and even less astringent, earthier with a more pronounced chocolate aftertaste, it felt like a different tea!
I also tried this tea at 212F and let it steep for 3:30 min. I got more pronounced chocolate notes and a bit more body but it didn’t get too strong, so here’s another option. As always, experiment with different temperatures and steeping times to find what you like best.
Balasun First Flush (April 2019)
Brewing: 3 gms at 200F for 3 minutes.
Origin: Darjeeling, India
Dry leaves: Floral and fruity, fresh apple aroma.
Liquor: Light amber.
Aroma: Floral and fruity, sweet apple tart and slightly citrusy.
Texture & Flavor: Brisk, dry and slightly astringent, floral with a clean finish.
Personal Note: This first flush Darjeeling is complex, light and refreshing. A true ‘Champagne of tea’. The second infusion is slightly milder, less astringent but still floral and brisk with a sweet, fruity-floral aroma. Since I enjoy lighter teas, the second infusion was my favorite.
Ancient Tree Green Puerh (April 2019)
Brewing: 3 gms at 212F for 3 minutes.
Origin: Yunnan, China.
Dry leaves: Floral and fruity, honey peach aroma. Large leaves with some white buds.
Liquor: Light golden-amber.
Aroma: Wet forest, mineral, slightly floral.
Texture & Flavor: Medium-bodied, smooth with a bright and lingering finish. Mineral and smokey with notes of cooked spinach.
Personal Note: I would probably steep it for a shorter time next time. The second infusion was smoother, less mineral and more fruity and it gets even smoother with subsequent steepings. This is not my preferred tea type so I wasn’t very excited about it. Within raw Pu-erh, there is such a big variety of teas and this one was not a favorite.
Overall, I’m very pleased with Adagio’s Masters Tea Collection. They are very good quality teas at reasonable prices. They curated a great selection to give a good overview of different specialty teas to people who are just getting into single-origin teas. The best part is that you can easily try many different teas because they sell sample sizes of all of them.
I use professional tasting cups to taste tea. In case you’re interested, these are tasting cups I use.
I hope these reviews give you a good overview of a selection of their collection and help you better decide which ones to try. Please let me know if you’ve tried any of these teas and what were your thoughts!
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