Adhara Tea and BotanicalsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Adhara! This is a gooood Tie Guanyin. Heavy into orchid florals, some honeysuckle, and hints of other flowers like lilac and hyacinth. It’s also more floral than grassy, but green and fresh. It’s a softer green bean overall in flavor, and continues to be floral after each steep. Definitely better than some Taiwanese oolongs I’ve had of late, and somewhat similar to a Baozhong.
5 oz, 5 grams 10 sec, 15, 20, 35, 45 175-195 F.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Green, Green Beans, Honeysuckle, Lilac, Orchids
Finally opened my bag. This one had HUUUUGE leaves, and I brewed it in my fancy Chufunyu Eclipse Thermo…more on that later.
Tasting this out, I did semi western with a lot of leaves-maybe 5 grams. I preferred this tea over the Lishan Glory because it had a much rounder body and taste. It’s a little bit more vegetal, but really well balanced and easy to drink even in earlier steeps when it was more or less a rinse of 45 sec.
I basically sipped the tea at different intervals in a nearly Grandpa sort of way. It’s hard to explain since I’m brewing my tea in the Eclipse, which gives me a lot more control of how much the leaves are stewing. Sometimes, I let the leaves just sit, then I would cut off the water flow at different times, but I didn’t time it. Here’s a guesstimate: 45 sec sip, 1 min 20 sec sip, 2 minute brew-cut off leaves. Put in hot water again, 1 minute sip, 3 minute, then cut off the leaves. Pour hot water again, and more or less…grandpa style.
Tasting notes of what I got: Cream, Honey, Wood, Pine, Lemon Zest, Lilac, Coconut hints, Ample Butter, and Spinach. Overall, the tea had a heathered honey and milk/wood kind of taste. Sometimes, I though “forest dew” because there’s something misty and earthy about the tea. It was really pleasant, and fruitier notes immerged more mid brew and a little bit towards the end. The vegetal bitterness took over a little bit in later steeps, but adding more water improved it.
I need to try this again using more traditional methods gong fu or western, but I was able to push a lot of flavor out of it. The tea is also extremely flexible. It doesn’t change too much in terms of flavor and notes, but it yields a good experience every time-so I’m not complaining. I enjoyed it highly, and know I’m going to drink it again soon.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Lemon Zest, Lilac, Pine, Rainforest, Spinach, Vegetal, Wood
Finally giving it some attention, I upped the grams to 7 and lowered the water volume to roughly 2-3oz in my clay shiboridashi at 195 F.
Here’s the intervals so far: 15, 20, 10, 15, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, 10, flash steep, and 3 minutes and I’m continuing to drink it now as I write.
More flavor came through this time, leaning heavy into melon in the aroma and the taste in later steeps. Floral as ever, very heavy in the honeysuckle and plumeria territory. Unlike a lot of other lishans, this one leans more into a even steamed milk flavor than a fruity or floral forward one in longer steeps, but the shorter steeps do the tea a huge flavor with the ratio I’ve got right now. Earlier steeps in the session were also generally milkier and more soft white, yellow, and purple florals, but the vanilla character as well as the honeydew melon and pear are extremely pronounced in the second 10 second range of flash steeps, and push the temperature into the higher 190s.
The accidental three minute one was a little too bitter and spinachy, but retained the tropical florals and pushed the tea into a condensed milk profile mid-sip. It wasn’t perfect and a little too green that way, but the complexity wasn’t lost thankfully.
As of now, I am mostly getting melon. Aroma throughout this session has shifted and actually caramelized into a fesh sugariness you get from dried pineapple or fruit in the spell. Maybe sugarcane is a better descriptor, because the tea is still green and partly vegetal. Either way, I know I can keep brewing this one for at least two more brews before it loses lustre.
In terms of rating, I’m still undecided. I would have initially leaned more into the 80s at first, but the much stricter gong fu parameters and short steeps made a huge difference . The western style sessions have more balance/dimension than normal oolongs, and definitely more complex than some Jin Xuans or Four Seasons that have a similar grass creamer, distinctly Taiwanese oolong flavor. My pickiness stems more from the fact that I’ve had a lot of Taiwanese Lishans and have a little bit of prejudice towards certain teas and price ranges, but I really am enjoying this company, and I do think the tea is very smooth and good.I can easily see people newly getting into higher priced Taiwanese oolong really liking it because it’s so balanced and sweet compared to other teas, and of course any oolong lover, though they might be more nit picking about flavor. Right now, I’m going to rate this one an 85 because I’m between liking and loving it.
Flavors: Apple, Butter, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Green, Lettuce, Melon, Milk, Pear, Plumeria, Soft, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla
I got this and the Shanlinxi for the free shipping after 30 bucks spent. I also got it compulsively because I usually judge the quality of loose leaf a company has based on the quality of their oolong. I know, not fair, but Lishans and Shanlinxi’s are a favorite I don’t get bored with.
Unfortunately, I am going to have to redo this one. It is full bodied, but extremely soft and complex. I had it on a hotter and busy day, so I was bit distracted. This one is a more pear leaning lishan for sure, specifically the “Asian Pear” as westerners refer to it. Otherwise, it’s a high mountain oolong. I admit I’m starting to get bored writing about them, and this tea deserves better attention.
Flavors: Floral, Pear
I’ve almost completed a sipdown. I really like this tea overall-the flavor is perfect for anyone looking for a more affordable Jin Jun Mei. It was only $6 for an oz, and that’s not bad for the quality.
The cocoa and honey notes are obvious in the aroma and in the taste, with a little bit of longan fruitiness in the aftertaste. It can get a tannin-dark chocolate bitter or muddled if you overbrew it, yet it’s far more forgiving compared to other blacks. The only downside is that I don’t get much more than 3 solid cups or brews western, rarely over 4-5 gong fu. The complete profile and flavor is satisfying enough for me, though.
I’d easily recommend this tea to people newly getting into drinking teas without cream or sugar, or if you are looking for an affordable alternative for more expensive Wuyi Blacks or Fujian blacks. I haven’t tried it out as more English style tea yet, but I think it would stand up to sugar more than it would cream unless you use a generous amount of leaf. I still need to play with it more gong fu and western to be sure. Tumbler style and western are best so far in my opinion.
I have at least 50 grams of this tea left that I couldn’t identify from before, and now I can. This is the fresher version of it since it’s a little bit more new, and insanely aromatic, sweet, and chocolaty. There’s some malt, dryness and tannin matted underneath sweet potato skin layers, but it’s heavy into a medium dark, almost milk chocolate cocoa profile and a caramel honeyed aftertaste. It doesn’t last much more than five steeps gong fu, but the flavor was pretty full in a dark brown-red liquid.
This will be my work tea because it’s definitely waking me up and chilling me out. So good.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Drying, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin
I’ve had osmanthus blended with tea before, and mostly oolongs. The only times I’ve had it with a black was with the Earl the Great blend, and in Verdant’s blend with their darker and savory Laoshan oolong.
I watched this one for a few months since I traveled to North Carolina for Thanksgiving last year. I was trying to find good teahouses, and Adhara was one of the ones near me that was recommended. I didn’t actually get to try them in person, but the power of algorithms from facebook and instagram worked. I spent so much money on tea in the last few months after the existential dread of this past school year, switching from stoic frugality to Epicurean YOLO.
I feel confident to say I don’t regret getting this one. It’s unique, fruity, chocolaty and complex comparing to other quality black floral teas such as Alice. The base for this was higher grade golden tip tea, and it’s absolutely gorgeous and aromatic. I’ve done it gong fu, but it’s forgiving to some oversteeping later on. I expect this make a great cold brew too, though I would not push it too hard. I’ve quite liked it so far and compares better than other osmanthus blends I’ve had. There’s something about osmanthus’s floral peachiness that accents the yammy malty profile of the black tea to higher levels.
Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Malt, Osmanthus, Peach, Savory, Sweet, Wood