Adagio in the Afternoon {tea review}


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."
-Thich Nhat Hanh


There are tea lovers and coffee lovers, just as there are those who prefer mustard to ketchup, or soba noodles to udon. Yet, tea flourishes in an age where drive-thru lattes can be had at any early or late hour. The art of tea is timeless.


The thick froth
Lustrous like freshly fallen snow
And resplendent like the spring's blossom.
-Du Yü, "Ode to Tea"


I've loved tea since childhood; I was raised by my very proper British grandmother who poured Darjeeling at tea time (and other various English teas) along with shortbread cookies and tea biscuits. I've made attempts to drink coffee in this latte obsessed city, but there's nothing that can sway me away from a good cup of tea. Tea houses in the Chinese neighborhoods are the best places to have tea in Los Angeles (there's a plentitude of teas offered) but aside from going out for a pot, making tea at home is best. Besides, you can stay in your pajamas and snuggle up with a good book while sipping slowly.


“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
- Dostoyevsky


I'm quite particular about my tea. I do love black tea the most, with almond milk and a spoonful of honey, though half and half and a heaping spoonful of brown sugar is how I grew up drinking it. My tea cabinet is packed full with many varieties, and soon my pantry may be taken over by tea rather than kitchen staples. But it doesn't matter how much tea I have at home, there's a curiosity about different types of tea that will always appeal to the sensualist in me.

A package of Adagio teas arrived on my doorstep with samples of a few types of black and green teas. It wasn't long before the kettle was whistling and I poured a teapot full. My two girls were excited to taste the different blends and have a tea party. We all decided that almond oolong was perfect to pair with macarons I had saved in the fridge just for the occasion.


 The almond oolong tea steeped beautifully in my favorite Chinese teapot. The scent of almond tea awakened with each sip, as the depth of flavor grew richer and more fragrantly pleasing. Nutty with a marzipan aroma, the fruity floral Taiwanese tea delighted my daughters, as they asked if they could have more once they finished the pot.

Darjeeling is one of my favored tea choices, so the name Ooooh Darjeeling caught my eye. A rare oolong tea from India, its fruity/floral notes finish smoothly without growing bitter as it steeps. It has a smoky aroma that hints at cardamom, yet it remains light and delicately pungent. This tea has an earthy complexity. Darjeeling is typically served as an afternoon tea.

The Black Dragon Pearls are hand-rolled into tea "pearls" which open up and fill the teapot with the aroma of chocolate mingled with an earthy Yunnan black tea. This was the perfect cup for early morning. As my son enjoyed it while readying for the day, he commented on how good it was (teenage boys don't tend to remark about their morning cup of tea). I made another pot of the Black Dragon tea and understood why--- cocoa fragrance, smooth taste, paired well with a non-dairy cashew creamer.

Pu-erh Hazelberry tea was a great choice for a sample taste, since most pu-erh tend to vary depending on its age and stage of fermentation. The younger pu-erh can be bitter, but this fruity and nutty tea has top notes of strawberry and cream which layers so deliciously together with the hazelnut and enchants without any cloying sweetness.

Adagio's Jasmine Pearls are a new household favorite in my kitchen tea arsenal. This is a green tea from the Fujian province of China. The tea is infused with night-blooming jasmine essence in a process that takes twelve nights of the flowering blossoms to perfume the green tea leaves. I've enjoyed the tea by placing a tea bag inside a teapot and shared it rather than in a single tea cup alone. There is something poetic about the way this tea is prepared, and it has an aphrodisiac effect upon lovers. I'm not suggesting that the strength of the jasmine pearl tea is an outright love potion, but do not underestimate its effects upon inspiring romantic moments (or bursts of creativity). It has enough caffeine in the right sense to induce a euphoric state, and one that improves mental clarity rather than inducing dreaminess.


 Tea is a divine herb.
-Xu Guangqi


This post was generously sponsored by Adagio Teas. Ordering was easy and pleasant to do (I nearly ordered enough tea to fill my kitchen pantry... I do love tea that much). I was quite surprised at how quickly my order arrived--- possibly the best online ordering experience I've ever had. You will find exceptional tea at reasonable pricing available through Adagio teas.