Jim's Corner - CommuniTEA Review: 3 Black Teas

May 18, 2021

by Jim R.

If you are a part of the communiTEA then you know looking to Jim's daily reviews are a joy! The time and consideration he puts into each one in order to bring out the best flavor of Adagio's teas are something we all look forward to!

If you have not yet been introduced to the communiTEA - you're in for a treat!

The communiTEA is a unique place where Adagio patrons from all around the world can sit down together over the same cup of tea on the same day. These teas cover all varieties and contain teas from our normal catalog and customer-created Signature Blends!

Open the package on the date indicated on each portion, then head over to the communiTEA page to weigh in on the day's tea, upload a pic to potentially win the photo contest, and join the Live Chat.

We were lucky enough to have Jim write up his thoughts on his favorite tea from recent boxes, so without further ado- we give you ...

Jim's Corner

Assam Melody

My communiTEA packet on January 14th included 2 ½ teaspoons of Assam Melody tea. I used 1 ½ teaspoons of the tea in my 12 ounce Yixing clay mug that I use only for black unflavored teas, pictured below.

I steeped at 200ºF and pulled it at four minutes when it was dark enough for my liking.

When hot, a mild unsweetened cocoa astringency was noted. Mild mineral tastes were present on the roof of my mouth. I added a bit of sugar to mellow the flavor. When warm, mild pecan flavors surfaced with an acceptable amount of brisk astringent mouthfeels.

This was a very nice stand-alone sip, but I feel it is even better when used in a breakfast blend, such as Scottish Breakfast. (Brewed at 4 mins, 200°F, 1/4 tsp sugar)

Tiger Eye

As far as I could tell, everybody was present in my Tiger Eye tea and ready for action in my communiTEA packet on January 27th. The cocoa nibs were getting excited! Dark chocolate aromas were noted.

I did a 200°F steep to help stave off any astringency from the Ceylon Black tea. I pulled the steep at 3 minutes and 30 seconds because the tastes were getting a little bitter (probably from the cocoa nibs).

When hot, vanilla flavors were mild. No caramel flavors were noted at this point. Mildly bitter unsweetened cocoa nib flavors were noted. I added some sugar in hopes of masking this and to bring out some sweet caramel flavors.

When warm, a really nice overall dark chocolate flavor was noted. Pleasantly sweet & buttery caramel flavors were moderate. The vanilla added a nice milky smoothness to the deal.

Towards the end, the tea conspired with the chocolate dudes to intensify the overall chocolaty goodness. I thought I was drinking a Milky Way candy bar by the time I had my last sip, very nice! The 2nd steep was milder in taste, but still very pleasant. (Brewed 3 mins 30 secs @ 200°F, 3/8 tsp sugar)

Yunnan Noir

When I noticed carefully hand-rolled large black tea leaves with golden tips and buds in my communiTEA packet on April 24th, I got so excited. I had a feeling that Yunnan Noir was gonna be worthy of using my Yixing clay “cat-handled” black tea mug for a good ‘ol fashioned tea tastin’!

I had four grams of tea, enough for a 16 ounce steep. I steeped this special black tea at 200°F in order to treat it gently and avoid too much astringency. I pulled the steep when most of the leaves had fully opened and fallen to the bottom of my steeper. They were large, flat, and very stately looking.

When hot, mild unsweetened dark cocoa flavors were noted. A slight astringency was noted. Since this was a 16 ounce steep, I added ⅜ teaspoon of sugar to lower bitter tastes and help reveal other flavors.

The flavor of this tea when warm was very complex, with mild to moderate hints of honey, earth, molasses, raisin, and other fruit flavors.

Throughout my sip, this tea was savory and wine-like tasting on my palate. A pleasant fruity astringency and an immense depth of flavor were noted. I was presented with a clean and mildly sweet dark cocoa-flavored finish. The second and third steeps were just as flavorful. (Brewed 4g tea for a 16oz steep, 3 mins, 200°F, ⅜ tsp sugar.)