I make it no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of straight green teas, at least not presently. While some people absolutely love the grassy flavor profile of most of them, if I’m in the mood for something veggie-tasting… I’d rather just go eat some veggies than drink something that tastes like them! However, I did feel like my bias was causing me to miss out on a lot of top-quality green goodness, so I decided to dip my little toe into the tremendous ocean of green teas with Adagio’s Green Pekoe tea. And might I say, the water’s just fine! 🙂
The second I opened my tiny sample package and had a whiff of this tea, I felt a wave of relief wash over me: the vegetal smell I expected was not present, and in its stead, a sweet floral scent with a slight hint of nuttiness. YAY! I couldn’t wait to get steeping!The first steeping was definitely the trickiest. Because the leaves took a fairly long time to unfurl in the cooler water, I left them in probably a bit longer than I should have (~2 minutes or so), so my first cup was a little bitter. Needless to say, a piece of rock sugar solved the problem easily. The first cup will have the most earthy and vegetal notes of the entire session, and even then they are still quite subtle compared to other green varieties. Looking back on it, if you’re not into the veggie taste, I might suggest skipping the first steeping entirely and just using it as a means to wash and unfurl the leaves.
The second steeping was where things started to get interesting. And freaking delicious. Once the leaves have expanded and are happily sitting in your cup/gaiwan, they begin to express their characteristically sweet and nutty flavor, and the tea takes on a richer golden color than the first steeping. At this point, no sugar or honey is needed whatsoever to enhance the flavoring- they’d likely only mask it due to its subtlety. The third steeping is definitely my favorite- the tea actually gets sweeter, and starts to taste like marzipan or even marshmallows. Mind you, you’ll kind of have to concentrate on the taste if you want to pull these notes out of it-the flavor definitely won’t stand out to you if you’re not paying attention. But you should! Because it is SOOOO FREAKIN’ worth it. 😛 Sadly, after the third steep, the flavor starts to fade and would likely need some doctoring with sugar to bring it back up to snuff. Marshmallow goodness is definitely gone too soon 😦
In a lot of ways, Green Pekoe reminds me far more of a white tea than a green tea, and I adore it! With its buttery, sweet, and nutty flavor, I’d imagine it would be an incredible accompaniment to shortbreads or scones. It’s a shame I drank through my sample so quickly, but maybe you can test my hypothesis for me ;-). Upon doing some further research, it seems that in general Chinese greens seem to be less grassy tasting than Japanese greens. After this lovely introduction to Chinese green tea, I’m definitely looking forward to tasting the countless more varieties I’m sure China has to offer. 🙂 Way to go, Adagio! You may just make a green tea lover out of me!
Overall Grade: A-