I wanted to thank Adagio for the opportunity to try all of these awesome teas! I have been using their Ingenuitea accessory for so many reviews, I thought it was only appropriate that I also review some of their teas as well!
Pouchong is a very lightly oxidized tea. Of the Taiwanese Oolongs, this is perhaps the least oxidized and therefore it produces the lightest flavor. This tea has become famous for its intoxicating aroma and its smooth buttery taste. Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying this tea!
I want to start with a little disclaimer. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to try some of the best teas in the world, so my standards are quite high. While Adagio does have very good tea, I believe it is unfair to compare it with the directly sourced, small farm teas I have been trying recently. Adagio has a special place in my heart because it was one of the companies I would buy from when I was starting my adventure into the world of tea. They have very good teas at good prices, but some of the more experienced connoisseurs may prefer a tea from a smaller company that sources teas from small farms like Nio for Japanese tea and Yunwei for Chinese tea.
I was very excited to try this tea. It had been so long since I have had a Pouchong and the last one I had I really loved. This tasting is long overdue. I took out a few of the dried leaves to see what they smelled like. The color of these leaves was a beautiful bluish green. The smell was quite pleasant, but not as powerful as some of the Pouchongs I have seen in the past. This tea is typically one of the more fragrant of the oolongs, but I am not seeing that from this one.
I steeped the tea at just under 200 degrees for 3 minutes. This was the recommended amount of time on the package the tea came in. The flavor of this tea was quite faint, but the flavor that was present was quite enjoyable. I have to be honest, this tea really falls short of my expectations. Pouchong is such an amazing tea if done right, I still remember the first one I had years ago. In addition to having an incredible variety to work with, this was also a tea from their “Masters Collection” meaning that it comes with a far steeper price tag and is supposedly of a much higher quality. The tea I received did not live up to this hype, and I think it has to do with how the tea was stored. It has lost a lot of its fragrance and its taste. I do not doubt that this tea was sourced from a great location, but the end product is sub-par. I am not against all teas from Adagio, just this one. I am not even against all of their oolongs. I just tried one recently, which I will be reviewing soon that absolutely blew my mind. I was so impressed by the quality of the Ti Kuan Yin that I think it is actually one of the better Unroasted Taiwanese Oolongs I have had. This one is no where near as good as its counterpart, and I recommend you spend money elsewhere.
One thing I do like about this tea is that it comes in a metal tin. This is not only important to make the tea look nice, it also protects the leaves from being crushed as it is shipped around. There is nothing worse than getting a package of tea that is mostly dust. The shape of these leaves is perfectly preserved, and they unfurl beautifully once added to water. That being said, I think they lose a lot of their natural fragrance in the storage process. I’m no expert, but I think this is due to the fact that it is kept in a very small container. When the tea leaves are surrounded by one another, they help to preserve the scent. When there are less tea leaves in a container, that container begins to neutralize the aroma over time. I wish I could see what this tea was like straight from the farm!
I decided to take this tea for a second steeping. Even though I didn’t get a ton of flavor from the first steeping, I am sometimes surprised by how much I can extract from the leaves in the second steeping. I set the kettle to boil and really let the leaves soak for a few minutes. I am starting to get a bit of astringency that leaves a nice mouthwatering feeling in my mouth after the sip. I guess this astringency was hidden deep within the tea leaves because it took a high temperature and a long steep time to get it out. Although this tea is flavorful, it is not super unique. The flavors that come out in this tea are not too hard to find elsewhere, and therefore the second steeping isn’t able to save this tea. I definitely think that this is better than having no tea, and I am certainly glad I tried it, but I don’t think the flavors that I got out are worth it for the price of the tea. If you want to get a tea from Adagio that’s similar to this one, I would really recommend the Ti Kuan Yin instead. It is amazing and I will be reviewing it very soon! Stay tuned.