Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tasting: Yunnan Noir from Adagio Teas

The dry leaves

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to choose a few teas from Adagio Teas to sample. I don't usually order from their site, so I looked around and tried to find teas that stood out. I noticed their Yunnan noir was part of the 'roots' campaign where you get to 'meet the farmer'. This includes a Q&A with someone associated with the tea farm. I enjoyed reading the info behind these leaves and thought it would be an interesting purchase.  From the Adagio Q&A:
Q What is your favorite part of growing tea? 
A"My favorite part is shaping the Yunnan Noir tea. It has a beautiful shape which is curl and golden. It requires experience and patience. Now I am still young I have a lot to learn from my master who is my father. I am happy when I can make better shape for a new lot. I am sure I can get better and better in the future."
As the above quote mentions, the leaves are beautifully rolled into a snail shape and have a sweet and spicy aroma with hints of cocoa.The brew is super smooth, chocolaty and well balanced. It has a thick mouth feel that is velvety soft. It is fruity, reminiscent of plums and raisins, earthy and slightly bitter. Lots of malt here too, a bit too much for my early morning palate. I would like to have a bit more brightness in the cup, something to cut through the cocoa and malt notes. 

The leaves after 1 steep

I brewed this tea with boiling water for 3 1/2 minutes. I don't think it needed more time as it was starting to get a bit astringent. But I like my morning teas to be strong and I usually over-brew it for reason. But I'd suggest sticking to closer to 3 minutes if you prefer a smoother taste. The leaves have at least one more steep to give, they started to unfurl but look like they have a little more life left in them.

Milk and sweetener can be added to this tea if you so choose. Milk may cut the astringency if that's not your thing. I'm not sure if I'd enjoy the maltiness of this as an iced tea, but I may give it a try. The smooth chocolate notes would create a soothing warm weather option. I am happy to have this tea in my pantry, and will look for it in the mornings, and early afternoon.