This “Cyber Monday”, I was introduced to what I now consider one of the most amazing websites in my little web-world… Adagio Teas is an online (as well as brick-and-mortar) retailer of fine quality tea which was founded by Michael Cramer, a former investment banker. Their website is bright, colorful, and very easy to navigate, and I quickly found myself wanting some of one type of tea and then some of another. How did I find this marvelous website you ask? Why, I was randomly sent a Twitter coupon for $5 off my purchase price and telling me about the free shipping. (More on the $5 coupon later) So, I finally decided on a small white teapot and infuser (cheerfully called the “personaliTEA”) as well as a green tea “Shanghai” sample pack. Since the sample pack contained four different teas (and enough to make 8-10 cups of each), I thought that wasn’t a bad deal to start out with. So, I placed my order and sat back to wait.
My order was shipped the very next day, and they offered an awesome tracking system. Instead of just providing me with a tracking number and moving on to the next customer, they offered to update me on Twitter every time my package information was updated! Never had a company offered me this, and I was impressed! My teapot and tea actually arrived one day later than it was supposed to (according to UPS it was “driver error” and he accidentally left it at the depot, although by the looks of it, someone played hackysack with it for a bit before getting it out the door) and when I got it, the box was damaged. Thankfully, the folks at Adagio packed everything very well and the teapot wasn’t broken. The sample box was bent up pretty well though.
So, I finally get my tea home, and I decide to try some. My youngest sister asked me what I was up to (she’s 12) and when I told her she asked if she could try some too. I agreed and told her she could pick what type we’d try first. Naturally, she picked the one with the oddest name to try. Quickly, I boiled up some water and let it begin to cool (since green tea, according to Adagio’s site, is supposed to be brewed in water that is approximately 180 degrees, else it gets bitter) and then opened the first package. “White Monkey” was the label, and I was rather curious as to the composition.
Thankfully, Adagio’s site is also full of detail about each and every type of tea. It has this to say about the “White Monkey” blend: “Green tea (do not be confused by its name) that grows along the slopes of the Taimu mountains in the Fujian province of China. The young leaves and unopened buds are carefully gathered and processed exclusively by hand. The result is a tea that appears intricately woven with large and beautiful white tips. It produces a very light cup that is noticeably sweet, and infused with a fresh, delicate scent. White Monkey tea hails from the Fujian province of China, one of its most prolific. This region accounts for one-fifth of China’s total tea output. And the high quality of its teas keeps them in high demand. This region’s exports of tea account for a quarter of the country’s total. Fujian teas benefits from an excellent climate, combining mild temperatures, abundant rainfall and mountainous terrain. It has a long history of cultivating tea: over one-thousand years.” Along with this information was several helpful reviews, all written by those who had purchased and tried this tea out.
So, I opened the package, wafted the bouquet, photographed it, and then prepared to brew. Green teas brew very quickly (3 minutes), so I prepared the cups and sweetener. After pouring the tea, my sister tried it and declared it “very good” (which is the best I could get out of her). I tried some before adding sugar, and was surprised at the rich, earthy flavour. While I wouldn’t want to drink it without some form of sweetener, it was still a very interesting flavour which would perhaps be excellent paired with honey. After adding sugar, I must admit that “White Monkey” is very different from any type of tea I have tasted before. The rich, earthy flavour remained but was slightly diminished by the sweetness, making for an extremely satisfying cup of tea which I savoured to the very last drop.
Following are some photos, and if you look on down below them, a coupon for $5 off your order (that I know you’ll place) at Adagio.com.
So, now, for a $5 gift certificate… Simply enter the gift certificate code: 8706175164 – Also, here’s another awesome feature of the site… With each order you place, gift certificate you send out that is redeemed, and each review of tea you do you receive Frequent Cup points. When you accrue 100 of them, Adagio will give you a free $10 gift certificate! Not a bad deal at all… 🙂