OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby chittychat » Jul 5th, '10, 00:10

I have tried now the oolong tea samples and have this to say:

Bai Hao

Tea as tea should be. A drink to ones delight. Wonderful fruity and flowery aroma and flavor. I tended more to peach. I brewed it in my 180 ml gaiwan. First steepings were 35, 20, 20 ,25, 45 and 60 sec. Me being full of tea by then and aroma and flavor still strong I wrapped the gaiwan in aluminum and put it in the ref. The next day I continued with 4 more steepings of 60, 90, 120 and 120 sec. The last one was still nice however, by then I felt it was all that could be squeezed from this wonderful tea. Chapeau to the Tea Master.

Ali Shan, TGY, Pouchong

I brewed them the way I brew all those greener oolongs in my 120 ml tea pot using a level tbs which is between 4 and 5 g. Which some teas gives me as many as 9 infusions full of aroma and flavor. The result for these teas was generally disappointing. Weak aroma and flavor barely lasting for 4 infusions. The worst was pouchong. It was the first time ever that I did not finish my tea session.

The leftover unused leaves of pouchong I put then in a glass with water and left it over night in the ref. The next morning I had a tea with acceptable flavor, nothing great so.

Now looking at the infused, opened leaves of those teas I am not really surprised. Ali shan had leaves from the bud to the 4th leaf with stem and some broken leaves. TGY had only unusually large leaves, 4th or higher grade, plus some broken leaves. Never seen that before on TGY and pouchong was only a shamble of broken leaves.

Who does the buying for Adagio?

Lucky me that I got the Bai Hao at least. :D :D
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Seeker » Jul 5th, '10, 14:48

Danced with the pouchong today.
Brewed all the leaf in single session in yixing - gong fu -
7g:6oz.
205*, 1min.
Nice floral butteriness, but finishes kind of thin and tinny/minerally/metallic.
Also noticed a sort of ash aroma on the warmed, moistened leaf after initial rinse.
I give this tea a C.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Geekgirl » Jul 5th, '10, 15:14

Imagedreaming technicolor tea

Okie doke, I tried the Adagio M.S. Fujian TKY again. I don't know what was up with the "potato" batch, but this batch was definitely different. It was a much better tea, with floral notes. Unfortunately, because of the "yuck factor" on the last batch, I kept getting a kind of ghost of the fermented chemical/potato aroma, (which I'm not entirely convinced isn't actually there,) and it was difficult to overcome the negative expectation. I have enough here for another session or two, so I can see if (lacking that anticipation,) my opinion continues to improve.

I have to admit though, this is another "premium tea" that I personally don't feel deserves the category. It's beautiful before brewing, possibly the most attractive pile of dry leaves I've seen. But the dry aroma is only detectable from a few inches away which makes me wonder how "new" this tea is, due to (what seems to be) significant loss of the essential oils that should give the leaves their aroma.

I felt this tea didn't begin to show "premium" characteristics until the 4th steep, when it finally began to develop some depth and lose the harsh tones. Sadly, it gave out after the 6th steep, when tea color just didn't come out before water had cooled to lukewarm. It makes me wonder how this tea would do with cold-brewing, but at $200/lb, it's far too expensive to try.

My expectations were very high for this tea. At this price point, I wanted it to be as good as teas I've experienced and purchased locally from FLT, SA, NCTG, (in a similar price range,) as well as samples received from teamasters, fellow Teachatters, etc. I'd like to believe that, instead of being a lackluster listing for the "Master's Series," that I'm just having an off-week brewing, but I'm not convinced this is true.*

Especially since others on this tasting round have indicated that they felt this TKY was a very fine sampling, I'm wondering why my experience was so different from people I consider to have similar tea "taste" to my own.

Brewed in 100ml gaiwan, 5g tea, 205 deg flash rinse, rested 2 minutes, 1st steep 190 deg, 30 sec, 2nd steep 190 deg 20 sec, 3rd steep 200+deg timed to color, etc. (On Toki's recommendation for greener oolongs, I've lately lowered the temperature of my first couple of steeps.)

*I don't think it's some strange tweak in my brewing, because at the moment I'm enjoying the Adagio MS AliShan, and finding it quite nice - nice enough I would spend my teabucks on it.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Victoria » Jul 5th, '10, 15:54

Sorry it didn't quite make the grade for you. Glad to know though that it does seem there are two different batches, or perhaps something happened to the batch mid-way ie; storage, heat, etc. Would like to see you re-try later with higher temps. :)
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Geekgirl » Jul 5th, '10, 16:02

Victoria wrote: Would like to see you re-try later with higher temps. :)


Planning on it after the MS Alishan, which I am really enjoying. :)
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 5th, '10, 16:32

Perhaps we should rename this OTTI "enigmatic?" :mrgreen:

Thank you everyone for posting and sharing your thoughts on these teas!
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Geekgirl » Jul 5th, '10, 19:32

Back once more (for the last time?) regarding the Adagio MS Fujian TKY. This last tasting I've done with all just off-boil steeps (205). It does seem to get the best character out of the tea. There clearly seem to be two distinct batches of this, since the tea I got from Victoria's quantity tastes MUCH different from the first batch I tried.

The first batch had a very strong aroma and flavor, which was first pegged as "mashed potato," and (for me,) swimming pool chemicals. It was unpleasant enough that I couldn't even drink it - a rarity for me, as usually once I start brewing, I usually finish off even mediocre-"bad" tea.

Second source though, had some nice characteristics, but IMO was not up to snuff quality-wise, although the leaves were attractive and seemed to be of a decent grade.

I've discovered that this tea NEEDS boiling water to bring out its sweetness and complexity. At lower temperature there's a certain aroma and flavor that is a bit off-putting. I wasn't able to identify the flavor until a few minutes ago, when I had a bite of a honeyed dessert, then it was clear what I was tasting, and why I had such a strong, perhaps unjustified "dislike" reaction to the tea. It reminds me of dolmathakia. The odor I was trying to identify was that of blanched grape leaves, and the starchy smell/taste is like the herbed sticky rice. In the tea brewed at boiling, this aroma and taste is barely noticeable to me, but stronger at lower brewed temperature.

Now, being that I'm not a fan of dolmathakia (although I've been known to eat it if I'm really hungry and there's not much in the way of gluten-free options,) it stands to reason that this tea wouldn't really light my fire.

For anyone who likes this dish, it might go unnoticed, or even give the tea an extra wow factor for you. Once I put my finger on the association, I enjoyed the TKY more than previously, but still not enough that I'd purchase it, and I'm still not convinced that it either deserves the "Master's Series" appelation, or the hefty price tag.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Chesslover » Jul 6th, '10, 07:26

My first oolong ever: Adagio Master Series Pouchong

Quite pleasant experience...the main distinction from green teas I have been drinking up to now is floral aroma/taste...I found this oolong also sweet, delicate, with hints of roasted taste...

I was afraid it would be too delicate (without much taste) as I read in previous reviews...but was pleasantly surprised...maybe because I used almost boiling water to bring out all the taste it was in leaves.

I used half sample in 5 oz. of water. My boiling parameters:
1. 200*F for 45 seconds
2. 202*F for 75 seconds
3. 205*F for 120 seconds
4. 205*F for 165 seconds
5. 205*F for 225 seconds

I stoped there because it was sleeping time...but I'm sure further steepings were possible (the final steeping lost very little taste compared to first one).

Thank you Chip for this opportunity! :D
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Amaikokonut » Jul 6th, '10, 12:58

So I got these teas a while ago (thanks so much Chip!) and was really excited but I am still for whatever reason, terrified of brewing them.

I guess it's because I feel like I don't have the proper teaware (I just use an infuser cup), or maybe just that I've never had tea on the higher end of the quality scale and I'm afraid I'll do something horrible and it will just EXPLODE and turn into a dragon and eat my cat or something really terrible. Or maybe I'm just afraid I'll ruin them.

Someone console my irrationalities please-- am I going to still get much of the goodness out of these teas if I just brew it western style with my (large) infuser basket, or am I missing out? I guess just reading of all these reviews and brewing vessels and methods can be very intimidating to a relatively new tea-drinker. Or maybe I just want an excuse to go buy some decent teaware, who knows :P
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 6th, '10, 13:10

I brewed for several years with infusers, more or less western style until I found teaware more suited ... this was pre TeaChat and pretty much getting info from catalogs.

Go ahead and start brewing. :mrgreen:

Of course, get new teaware too! When you are ready.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Victoria » Jul 6th, '10, 13:51

Amaikokonut wrote:Someone console my irrationalities please-- am I going to still get much of the goodness out of these teas if I just brew it western style with my (large) infuser basket, or am I missing out? I guess just reading of all these reviews and brewing vessels and methods can be very intimidating to a relatively new tea-drinker. Or maybe I just want an excuse to go buy some decent teaware, who knows :P


I started out with an infuser too and still use one at work on occasion. It's no biggie. When you brew this way, you are getting all the complexities of the tea at once, and sometimes that's nice. :) But usually you will only get one good second infusion. These teas really shine when brewed gongfu or semi - this way you will see the tea and the notes evolving with each steep. Each one brings out different notes and characters, and they can be brewed many times. But, yes brew away and enjoy! They are good either way.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Mikael » Jul 7th, '10, 15:14

Hey guys,

Really strange that the TKY was reminding some of you of mashed potatoes!
Talking to Chip to try to figure this out...
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 7th, '10, 23:17

If anyone would like another sample of the Masters TKY from Adagio, after testing from Adagio and yours truly, please PM me.

My experience with this tea has been that it was quite outstanding, exactly what I would want in a greener TKY. It is for this reason I chose Masters TKY for this tasting. I would like to see everyone get the best sample possible for a fair testing.

Unfortunately I received the Masters TKY in three seperate shipments, and it is impossible to figure out who got what. Also unfortunately I did not feel the need to test each shipment/batch, I assumed all was well. So, it is not possible to discern if something had happened up to this point.

All the teas were then opened and packaged at the same time, and it would have been impossible for a mix up. Also the aroma could not have originated here or everything would have been contaminated ... and anyone who has been on TC for a while knows I am fanatical about these things.

I have been sending samples out for years, and I have likely sent out thousands of samples ... I am 100% confident nothing happened here.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby geeber1 » Jul 7th, '10, 23:22

I haven't tried mine yet and probably am not the best judge, but I'll put my two cents' worth in when I do - maybe tomorrow?
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 3 Master of the Oolong ... and Reviews!

Postby chittychat » Jul 7th, '10, 23:25

Geekgirl wrote: It makes me wonder how this tea would do with cold-brewing, but at $200/lb, it's far too expensive to try.



I just finished my TGY brewed cold and it was a rather pleasant tea the flavor lingering on an hour later after the last sip. In fact all 3 oolong tea samples of this Master selection became drinkable cold brewing which I cannot say from the samples I received when brewed hot.
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