I’m someone who generally prefers oolongs, and this “Masters Collection” Ti Kuan Yin is my favorite yet.
The tea looks fantastic – hand rolled leaves that range from forest green to a deep emerald. It smells fresh, like an earthy green tea with a very very slight hint of spice. Most of the leaves remained in tact, and there are only a few little broken pieces that I wouldn’t have even noticed if this weren’t one of the “masters” teas. Honestly, those small broken bits could easily be from the shipping process.
The brew looks rich and syrup-y, with a deep yellow/gold color and a glistening sheen on top. The floral smell is instantly apparent, with some earthy undertones.
This tea has a very smooth mouthfeel, and though it’s on the greener side, it’s very forgiving. I have yet to encounter any bitterness with this tea, even when accidentally over-steeping for 10+ minutes – though some astringency is present sometimes if I use too much of the leaf.
The main flavor from this tea is a floral taste that stays prominent through repeated steepings – even at 195-200F, I can get 4 steepings out of this. Sweetness is present throughout as well, but diminishes slightly after the first couple steepings. After the first steeping, more a more buttery flavor and feel emerges.
There’s also a savory umami aspect that seems to come and go at random, adding some more depth and making it a substantial treat. I can’t find any pattern to when this occurs! Sometimes it’s right off the bat, sometimes it will show up on the 4th steeping, sometimes it alternates on and off… very sneaky!
Overall, for lovers of greener milky/buttery oolongs, I can’t recommend this enough. I haven’t gotten Adagio’s standard Ti Kuan Yin to compare, but this tea really does seem to deserve its spot in the “Masters Collection”.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Milk, Orchid, Sweet, Umami