In the past, my feelings have been mixed about pu'erh offered by Adagio Teas. I really enjoy most of the tea I have tried from Adagio, but when fruit and pu'erh start to be thrown together (see this review of Adagio's Pu Erh Hazelberry), I raise a questioning eyebrow. However, today we are taking a look at a tea that promises nothing but the flavors of earth and woods - keys to a perfect pu'erh for me. Adagio Teas offers three unflavored shou pu'erh teas (outside of their Masters line of premium teas): Pu Erh Dante, Pu Erh Poe, and Pu Erh Pearls. The descriptions suggest differences, but only a review will tell. As a pu'erh enthusiast, I do wish that they would provide more information about their pu'erh, such as age, origin, etc.
In my cup today, I have brewed Pu Erh Dante. Given the western audience for this tea, I used Adagio's directions and brewed 1.5 teaspoons in 12 ounces of water. Originally, the intention had been to only steep it for four minutes, but...distractions happen, and it had steeped for five before I removed the leaves. And the cup was dark. Very dark.
The dry leaves had given off really mellow aromas of mushrooms with a touch of sweet, dark fruit, akin to plums. It initially disappointed me, as the smell seemed very one-dimensional. The steeped cup seemed a bit less...simple. I wanted to say a "bit less bland," but bland is neither fair nor accurate. The dry leaf aromas are rather pleasant, but they seem to lack complexity that I know pu'erh can provide. So, that said, a "bit less simple" actually stretches things. In the aroma from the cup, mushrooms are joined by undertones of damp earth, and I smile at the familiar and joy-bringing scent. Once the tea cools slightly, I take my first sips.
Well-rounded forest-y notes wash over the tongue and fill the mouth. For the simplicity of the aroma, I am surprised by the fullness of the body. The lighter mushroom flavors seem to come in and out, and still there is a natural sweetness of sorts, which in the aroma I had compared to dark fruit. On the finish, that sweetness lingers in the back of the throat, providing sharp contrast to the deep notes of wet earth that underscore the overall flavor.
Overall the flavors of this tea seemed far better to me than did the aromas. For the price, this would make a good daily-drinking pu'erh, and the loose leaf format makes it easily manageable for different steeping environments. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate Pu Erh Dante a 3.
Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Adagio Teas' Pu Erh Dante is available from their website, here.
This tea was provided for my unbiased review by Adagio Teas.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.