Thursday, November 22, 2007

One For The Money, Two For The Show, Three for Adagio, and Here We Go!

Several weeks ago I was sent a very nice review package from Adagio Teas. I have long adored Adagio and looked up to them as a benchmark to test other tea companies against. Some of their blends have been long favorites of mine, so it will take some work to be non-biased for this review.

I'll mention what was sent in the package, initial impressions on each item, and then I'll list my favorite of the teas that they sent and why it is my favorite of the set.

Included were 4 sample tins of various teas, several samples of their excellent teabags, and a Jasmine Pearl. Also included was a box of extra-tall teabags made from recyclable fibers (including hemp fiber, which I'll certainly have to say something good about) to put loose blends in, and their excellent short book "A Guide to Tea."

The four sample tins were "Casa Blanca Twist," Almond Oolong, Vanilla Green, and White Peony. Each is delicious, and has it own separate merits from the others.

The White Peony was very good - A fine quality white tea with a very pleasant mellow flavor. I really like white teas, so I hold them to a high standard when I review them. Compared to other White Peony teas I have had, this one is on the higher end of the spectrum. Quality is a big deal with Adagio, and it reflects in their products. I have only had a couple of brews of this particular tea that were better, and those were also considerably for expensive. For the price, this is the best White Peony you'll probably find. Great economically-priced white tea for anyone to enjoy - although tea snobs might opt for more expensive versions.

The Vanilla Green was also very good. I often am wary of green teas that aren't specifically categorized. There are so many types of green tea, and you don't know what you might get. Often, when buying a "green tea," you end up with something that tastes as generic as the name suggests. Adagio's flavored green teas are a notch above in regards to quality. The vanilla flavor was easy to pick up on even without sweetening, and a touch of honey brought it out perfectly. I might suggest that a little more vanilla flavor be present, though, as the vanilla flavor in this blend was a little outdone by the green tea flavor.

The Almond Oolong was simply delightful. I really like Oolong teas, and almond seems to be a great sidekick flavor to it. The amount of almond flavor was just right - it blended with the oolong perfectly, so neither overpowered the other. This tea is best with a little sweetener, as it really helps to bring out the almond flavor more.

The "Casa Blanca Twist" was my favorite of the lot. It has a very nice blend of flavors. A nice blend for whenever you want a nice and well-rounded mint tea. This was particularly pepperminty, which I appreciated. The amount of mint was well-conceived also. Not overpowering, but enough to wake up the senses and blend will with the high-quality green tea that undertones it. One thing I noticed about this tea is that the leaves were broken - even the tea leaves, which left me a bit disappointed. I tend to look at whole leaves or at least larger pieces of leaf as a trademark of quality. However, this only ended up as an aesthetic disappointment, as the finished brew was quite excellent anyway.

Next, I'd like to address the coffee table book, "A Guide to Tea." For the $5 that they charge for this, it is a good value, and well worth it. This is a very informative book for someone one new to the world of tea, and I myself even learned some interesting things from it. Well-printed and nicely bound, and very very easy to read. Nice display piece for when you have a guest over for tea. I'd also like to mention that they are giving these books away when you purchase one of their gift sets, which also come with free wrapping.

The paper filters that I received were impressive. I'll be keeping a bunch of these in my travel pack when I do my traveling with the Weber State Ethics Bowl team. Very portable, and very high quality. These are made from unbleached fibers - a fact which relieved me, since I often worry about what sorts of chemicals they use in my teabags to make them so white. These also won't leave your tea tasting like paper, since they're made from hemp and wood fibers, which don't impart flavor. I was thrilled that they used hemp fiber - It is a superior alternative to wood fibers in papers, since it is both more sustainable and stronger. I always get the warm fuzzies when I see a company supporting the use of hemp products - I've always been a big fan of this on both the conceptual and environmental levels. It's a high quality fiber, and the hemp plants grow far faster than trees, making hemp-fiber a more eco-concious choice.

Adagio's customer service is also fantastic - very fast response to questions, and you can often get live help from their tea master. They are definitely out there for more than just profits - I believe that they genuinely believe in giving people the best tea experience possible, while making it affordable for the common man.

All in all, I think Adagio is a fantastic company. They're teas are of excellent quality given the price that they charge, and they have enough varieties available to please not only the tea commoner, but also the connoisseur. Sometimes I wish they had a more premium line that they charged a little more for to appease the tea snobs, though.

If you're looking for a quality and affordable place to purchase tea, consider Adagio. Also, if you haven't yet done so, please feel free to request a $5 gift certificate from Adagio by using the box on the right of the blog at the top.

Over and out,

1 comment:

  1. I received a sample package from Adagio as well and enjoyed their teas -- especially the gunpowder.

    I'd be really interested in hearing your feelings on taking samples from tea companies for review. I can't decide if its the right way to go or not. Currently I take them, but I may change that policy soon.