drank Pi Lo Chun by Adagio Teas
171 tasting notes


Experience buying from Adagio http://steepster.com/places/2897-adagio-teas-online-naperville-illinois

Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping: in December, 2011, I bought a 14 gram sample; age of leaf not available on website; steeped on 5/19/2012.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: mildly vegetal; small, fine, light-and-dark green curly leaves, some broken (lighter in color to another version I tried a day later).

Brewing guidelines: labeled as 14 grams of dry tea, six cups of H2O; glass Bodum six-cup teapot, leaves free to roam; stevia added; (I started the steep times a half-a-minute longer and the temps a little hotter than my normal green tea times and temps as most Bi Lo Chun green teas seem to call for this).
……….1st: 178; 1.5’
……….2nd: 182; 2
……….3rd: 182; 2.5’
……….4th: 185; 3’
……….5th: 188; 4’

Color and aroma of tea liquor: Cloudy, light-yellow color; mild, sweet, vegetal aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping):
1st: mild, sweet, good
2nd: had at least as good a flavor as the 1st
3rd: decent flavor
4th: still decent flavor (leaves all on bottom)
5th: mild flavor (clear liquor)

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: aroma similar to other versions, but not what I would expect from a quality green tea, as although it’s vegetal it has a somewhat stale smell (maybe because this sat in the sample bag for six months from when I bought it? Then again, maybe not …), and something else interesting I can’t place; lots of leaf movement from top to bottom of teapot while steeping, leaves mostly on bottom, lots of broken pieces floating around; wet leaf seems to be of decent quality: many whole leaves, a number of buds, and some pieces and stems.

Value: Currently $7 / 2 OZ. Most Pi Lo Chun (or Bi Lo Chun) is much more expensive (I’ve seen the fresh stuff go for close to $20/OZ, and even higher for organic), so although this price is pretty good, I don’t believe this tea is of a very high grade.

At the end of 2011 I bought four samples from Adagio (all green teas), and this is the last of that bunch. In general, I have found their green teas to be of average quality with a commensurate price.

I have had at least five different Bi Lo Chun (Pi Lo Chun) green teas at this point, and I judge this one to be a pale comparison to the real thing; it’s decent tasting and worth drinking, but nothing stands out about it. Still, it seems to embody the basics of appearance, taste and aroma that the other versions had; as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I’m on the lookout for a Bi Lo Chun of better quality, and I’m willing to pay a little more for it (not more than $5 / OZ), since, as a style of tea, Bi Lo Chun is one of the best green teas I’ve ever had (The one from H&S was incredible, but I’m not willing to pay $10/OZ for it). There are currently a few sellers on Taobao (through a Taobao buying agent) that I am very seriously considering buying some of the 2012 harvest from.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.


Midwest, USA

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