A fun and rather delicious post here, featuring teas courtesy of the very kind folks at Masters Teas by Adagio!
As a devoted tea drinker, it is such a pleasure to get the opportunity to try different and/or limited edition teas. And hopefully, for the tea drinkers and tea aficionados out there (I’m sure there are A LOT of you!), this might offer something new to think about or explore with regard to your tea drinking! I first had the chance partner with Adagio Teas for an awesome look at literary and fandom teas back in 2017; this time around, I had the great luck of getting to taste some of their collection of Masters Teas:
The intention of Masters Teas is to share the finest, freshest specialty teas direct from the farms where they grow. We invite you to get to know the artisans who tender them and learn their stories. It is not necessary to be a tea connoisseur to enjoy these exceptional productions, as we intend to offer as much information as possible to help you on a journey of tea discovery. Masters Teas is proud to offer you our 2019 fresh-from-the-field teas the moment they arrive. Each offering is a limited edition, small lot production.
There are, as you might expect, numerous teas to select from so I had to really narrow down what kinds of teas I wanted to taste. It came down to the following: black teas (a favourite kind of tea) and green teas (something I’m not as familiar with and knowledgeable about).
Here are the four teas I picked (the four tea cup images and descriptions below are courtesy of the Masters Teas site):
Formosa Ruby 18 Black Tea, black tea from Long Tan, Taiwan, farmed by Bao Zhu Fan: “A very fine version of the Ruby 18, otherwise known as Red Jade, it is intense with surprising licorice notes. The long, dark leggy leaves, contain some lovely buds. The licorice cup also has a cooling menthol effect. There are notes of spice, a hint of caramel, and a whisper of toasted vanilla bean. The dry finish completes what is a very interesting, dynamic experience.”
Tongmu Jin Jun Mei, black tea from Fujian, China, farmed by Wang Xiang Feng: “This 2019 Jin Jun Mei is a rare black tea from the high mountain village of Tongmu in Fujian, the birthplace of black tea. It is a mix of young golden and very dark leaves. The dry aroma is that of hops, cocoa, and spice. This medium-full bodied cup has a luscious velvety mouthfeel and offers and layered blend of sweetness, spice, and cocoa. This complex cup has a very nice dry finish.”
Shincha Genmaicha, green tea from Shizuoka, Japan, farmed by Katahira: “…early spring version, with fine roasted and puffed rice perfectly in balance with the sweet, tender young leaves. The nuttiness of the rice accentuates the soft umami notes of the tea with hints of crispness in the finish.”
Shincha Sencha, green tea from Shizuoka, Japan, farmed by Katahira: “While Sencha has a tendency to be quite brothy with strong umami notes, the earliest harvests can be much lighter with hints of sweetgrass. Our 2019 Shincha Sencha is a light, layered cup. The nutty notes of umami hit your mid-palate, while delicate apricot lingers on in the finish. Elegant and lovely.”
My thoughts after tasting and testing all four of the teas:
The Formosa Ruby 18 Black Tea is strong, robust and tasty (I could smell and taste slight hints of caramel) with no aftertaste. I liked this one immediately, Perfect for serious fans of black tea! The Tongmu Jin Jun Mei is an intense, rolling experience, you can feel the hops and spices hitting your entire tongue/mouth! I found the hops to be a bit too strong for my personal taste- others may love it! Of the black teas, the Formosa Ruby 18 Black Tea was the winner and one I would absolutely drink again. On to the green teas! Confession first: green tea has usually felt more like something that I should be drinking- not so much a “fun tasting” drinking experience but rather a “health” thing. Basically, I do drink plain green tea (nothing fancy) regularly but have never really ‘clicked’ with it. Would my experience be anything different with these new teas? Now, the Shincha Genmaicha (the most distinct looking when loose due to the rice!), is, by my estimation, somewhat similar to green teas I’ve tasted before. But! The taste of this one is deeper yet lighter at the same time, and the puffed rice taste is very pleasingly distinct. The Shincha Sencha, on the other hand, feels like a tea to grow into- perhaps for those more accustomed to a stricter, more savoury, heady kind of green tea…I felt this one to be a bit overwhelming in taste, though that may be just that I am not as familiar or used to green teas. Of the two green teas, I am definitely leaning towards the Shincha Genmaicha as my standout, but I do also feel as though I need to give some more energy and time to tasting green teas as whole…and perhaps figuring out the perfect heat-to-steep ratio for them!
A few notes last note here. I usually like my teas with a bit of sugar or sweetness, but I prepared all of these plain, no added sweetener or milk. Do pay careful attention to optimal water temperatures and how long to steep the teas (I used my beloved Cuisinart with temperature selection for teas). The teas here, especially the green teas, will go very bitter if you boil the water or steep the teas for too long. The information for temperature and steeping each of the Masters Teas is provided on the website.
In all, this was a genuinely delightful, yummy, and fun kind of experiment and experience in tea drinking! These are out-of-the-ordinary, carefully farmed, blended and picked teas, and the tastes are undoubtedly unusual and unique. For interested tea drinkers- or for surprising a tea drinker you know with samples to try– the selection offered by Masters Teas is absolutely one to check out!
I received a gift voucher courtesy of Adagio Teas in exchange for honest reviews and a post about Masters Teas. All opinions and comments regarding the items are my own. I received no monetary compensation for this post.