Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tea Off

I've been trying to make sure my days contain fun things (mostly because I have a tendency to get too caught up in housewifing activities and can easily exhaust myself). Today's fun activity was a mini tea taste off. (I also cleaned the living room windows. Did you know that glass was supposed to be clear?)

I hadn't tried Adagio's Yunnan Golden Curls yet so I selected that one and put it up against a tea I had tried before (several times, actually), Chicago Tea Garden's Golden Bi Luo. I selected the Golden Bi Luo mostly because I figured the two teas were pretty similar - both Golden Yunnans with some fun twist or curl to it.

So yes, that was my fun activity for today. And now I'm sharing it with you!

Yunnan Golden Curls
Chicago Tea Garden:
Golden Bi Luo
Initial ImpressionsThe dry leaf is very pretty - loosely twisted/curled with decent amount of fluffiness. The smell is very sweet. Post-steeping it smells sweet and malty with notes of tobacco and caramel.The leaves are tightly curled and decently dense and heavy. They smell dark and malty.
The tea smells slightly heavy/dark with notes of hay, smoke and something that brings to mind young tree limbs.
First Steep
The initial taste matches the smell: sweet. I also get notes of pipe tobacco and a light honey. It's a fairly lightly textured tea. There is a slightly mouth-drying aftertaste that develops into a sugary aftertaste.The taste dark and has a thick-ish feel to it. Slurping brings out bits of smoke or ash. There's an aftertaste of a dark, caramelized raw sugar or honey (if you could, you know, caramelize honey.) A sticky but not astringent aftertaste.
Second Steep
A hint of spice has shown up on the front end. It gives the impression of cinnamon or maybe nutmeg. Still sweet but is starting to come out with that 'stereotypical tea' taste. A hint of sweet ash pops up at the end and couples with the slight astringency to make a faint tart end. Smoke, sweetness and that faint green woody note all pop up. The flavor seems very 'stereotypically tea' tasting but with an added hint of starch and an aftertaste of sugar. CTG mentions this as being a coffee replacement and the dark, heavy notes to this make me agree.
Third Steep
Now I smell brown sugar and chicory. The warm spice taste is still present and it gives me the feeling of sipping a mild coffee (or some chicory) with a hint of cinnamon. Slurping brings out a bake-y, smoke note.Green woodsy still abounds, chased by flashes of sugar or honey.The taste is smooth and dark with a coffee-like (though milder) acridity. Slurping accentuates the raw quality and ash.
My ThoughtsReally a very good tea. It’s sweet so somewhat dessert-y but the flavor kept developing (and surprising) through multiple steeps (and all signs point to it being able to go for more). Later steeps had a heavier flavor so would be morning appropriate but it is smooth enough for any time of day. It’s definitely something I would buy again.Remarkably unimpressive which is surprising because I know I’ve had it before and gotten sweet and milky notes from it (though perhaps it needs less leaf and a slightly longer steep time to bring those flavors out as I normally would do 2g/5oz at 1:30). But this experience was only okay.

Naturally, I have pictures.

Adagio's Yunnan Golden Curls

Adagio's Yunnan Golden Curls (1)

Adagio's Yunnan Golden Curls (2)

Adagio's Yunnan Golden Curls (3)

Chicago Tea Garden's Golden Bi Luo

Chicago Tea Garden's Golden Bi Luo (1)

Chicago Tea Garden's Golden Bi Luo (2)

Chicago Tea Garden's Golden Bi Luo (3)


  1. That last picture looks a bit like a bowl of crawfish....

  2. ...and now I want jambalaya. Wonder if I could find a recipe...

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  4. lol you read so much into tea I drink it and go "okay yeah thats good or..meh it could be better" i'm not astute about the notes of teas..sad I know my ghost comment stands I guess.. how odd I wonder why it did that!

  5. I'll just act like ghost comments make me special. Yay ghost comments! :) And for the record, I do have bagged tea in my pantry. So it's not always about picking out nuances - sometimes it's just good to drink tea to drink tea! (But sometimes it's fun to kill some time 'studying' it, too.)

  6. (And I have loose tea that's not all that nuanced, too (or that I just load up with sugar and milk for the morning buzz)... not to hint that loose tea requires study or anything.)