Brewing Guide to Adagio's New Teas

September 15, 2021

by Kevin Henderson

There are two new teas that just made their way into Adagio's catalog that you've got to try! Let me introduce: Golden Needle Yunnan and Pu-Erh Wuliang Green.

I’ll provide varied steeping instructions to give you a sense of their ideal brewing parameters and the variety of notes that emerge under different conditions. Featured beneath each tea’s brewing instructions will also be recommendations for add-ins, such as honey or milk, that pair well with each particular tea.

To consistently brew your ideal cup of tea, consider using a temperature-controlled brewing device. Adagio offers a variety of kettles and infusers. For this review, I’ll be using the VarieTEA electric kettle, which features an assortment of preset temperatures that are each ideal for a specific kind of tea, from delicate whites to strong blacks.

Golden Needle Yunnan

Profile: Hailing from the remote Yunnan region of China, Golden Needle tea is made using only the newly-sprouted tips of the tea plant. As such, it’s not a bitter black, and actually contains a complex flavor profile bordering on sweet, but definitely warm and pleasant. You’ll notice on opening the package that the leaves vary in color, and so you’ll be getting a slightly different cup every time. In my three different brewings, I noticed consistent smoothness and richness.

You should know though that this is not the most “resilient” of black teas, so if you brew for longer than the recommended time, you’ll risk scorching it.

Steeping Recommendations

Note: If you are using a non-electric tea kettle, remember that 212°F/100°C is a rolling boil.

  • Option 1 (Recommended)

  • 1) Heat water to 212°F

    Optional: While Golden Needle tea is a whole leaf, it’s skinny like spaghetti. As such, they can take up a lot of volume and can be tricky to estimate how much you need. Consider weighing the leaves! Adagio recommends approximately 3 grams per 8 oz of water.)

    2) Measure out 3 grams of tea per 8 oz of water or approximately 1 tsp of tea per 8 oz.

    3) Once water reaches temperature, pour the water over the leaves.

    4) Steep for 3-4 minutes. Three-minute steeping will allow the subtler notes to come through, but the overall taste will be milder.

    5) Enjoy!

  • Option 2 (Light Brew)

  • If you want a milder taste, try steeping at full water temperature for less time, approximately two and half minutes. Or, try steeping for about 3 minutes with water at about 195°F.

  • Option 3 (Strong Brew)

  • For a powerful taste, you might consider steeping at full water temperature, 212°F, for the full five minutes. This will bring out the stronger, more astringent notes of the tea.

  • Option 4 (Milk and Sweetener):

  • Black teas usually do well with milk or milk substitutes to offset their astringency, and Golden Needle Yunnan is no exception. In particular, I found almond milk to be a good complement.
    Adagio’s Raw Manuka Honey is both complex and assertive in its sweetness, making it a good pairing with the Golden Needle. Their Raw Honey for Black Teas, made from the pollen of Orange Blossoms, is a bit stronger than the Manuka, given its pronounced citrus notes. this makes it a great pairing with a stronger brewing method.

    Pu Erh Wuliang Green

    Profile: Adagio’s Pu-Erh Wuliang Green comes from the Wuliang Mountains in Jingdong. The trees grow at about 5000 feet above sea level, and are over a hundred years old.

    Even as fermented teas go, Pu-Erh has a complex and strong flavor profile this makes many who find Pu-Erh to be an acquired taste. There are also many varieties, and this green Pu-Erh has a less intense flavor profile than some of the darker black-like Pu-Erhs. This and the fruitness of Pu-Erh Wuliang Green makes it a wonderful introductory Pu-Erh for those that may need convincing to give this lesser-known tea variety a try!

    As a fermented tea, it contains a litany of bacteria and fungi that are purported to provide an abundance of health benefits. While this fermentation gives the tea much of its complexity and nutritional value, Pu-Erh in particular often has a "fishiness” or other earthy notes that some find abrasive. You can alleviate these flavors by rinsing the leaves for ten to fifteen seconds in water heated to 180°F/82°C, then brewing. However, with this Pu-Erh you may find no rinsing is required!

    Steeping Recommendations

    Note: If you are using a non-electric tea kettle, remember that 212°F/100°C is a rolling boil. Check out this prior Tea Blog article to estimate water temperature without an electric kettle.

  • Option 1 (Recommended)

  • 1) Heat water to 180°F/82°C

    2) Measure out 3 grams of tea per 8 oz of water or approximately 1 tsp of tea per 8 oz.

    3) Once water comes to temperature, pour water over tea, into steeping vessel.

    4) Steep for 3-5 minutes.

    5) Sip and be merry!

  • Option 2 (Light Brew)

  • Even this green version of Pu-Erh can be strong for some. Luckily, brewing at a cooler temperature, around 160°F for 1-2 minutes, will yield most of the same flavors, but milder.

  • Option 3 (Strong Brew)

  • 180°F for 5 minutes. Don’t overheat this one, it will lose all of the delicate notes. You can opt to use a little more tea as well, but enjoy this cup- don't burn those lovely leaves!

  • Option 4 (Create Your Own Blend or Sweetener):

  • If the unique taste of Pu-Erh isn’t doing it for you on its own, consider adding Pu-Erh leaves as a complement to other sweet/fruit teas like Apricot Green. You can also consider adding a slice of orange or strawberry to a cup of Pu-Erh to offset its earth tones. Adagio’s Raw Honey - Green Tea also works well with it. You can mix and match these ingredients to find the combination that’s right for you.