Posted by: dan | April 22, 2009

one trick peony


Dan: I am a big tea nerd. You already knew that, of course, but perhaps not to the extent to which I’ve just realised it. I love the way the teas unfurl; I love the way each cup tastes vastly different to the previous one, even if it’s the same leaf; I love the various smells and how they develop when being brewed. And I love the fancy little tins that adagio sent some of their samples in. I don’t know why, but there’s something about them that just seems right for the presentation of the tea leaves. It is only for this reason that I chose the White Peony to drink one evening. Well, that and the fact that I love White teas.


The tardis spills its contents

The tardis spills its contents

Once the lid has been prised off, you’ll notice the smell of the leaves is barely perceptible. Only if you get your nose right in to the tiny green tea tardis do you find the scent of spicy flowers. It’s not an unpleasant smell, and it’s a solid one too: very little subtlety or underlying hints of anything else. Just the one pure aroma. And very nice it is too.

The leaves are some the most brittle, crisp, withered leaves I’ve seen so far. They’re like tindersticks; tiny, crunchy and delicate. they’re pleasing to the touch, which means I pinched out a small amount into the infuser instead of the using the usual spoon. I’m reluctant to spoon out tea leaves anyway, as I’m likely to dig in too hard and break them all, which defeats the point. This is another long-brewing tea, requiring a full 7 minutes to infuse properly. When you add the water, the leaves change colour instantly. The dark green and brown leaves suddenly spring forth with a much brighter green, which slowly seeps into the water, turning it a pleasing yellow colour.

The leaves dry, brewing and brewed: note the colour change

The leaves dry, brewing and brewed: note the colour change

Beautiful cup of tea

Beautiful cup of tea

The taste is a much, much lighter affair even than the faint smell and pale colour. This is a subtle, airy tea, even by white tea standards. There is very little power to it, but the taste is unmistakably similar to other white teas. It does however, seem a little sweeter, which gives it a nice bounce. It’s enjoyable rather than tasty, which sounds like a bit of a snobby thing to say, but I can’t think how else to describe it. With most teas you’ll find there’s a strong flavour which stands out and defines it. The definition of this White Peony is that it seems to do the opposite: you can drink it without having a strong taste flung at you. All of which makes it a great tea for relaxing with, and one I’m sure to return to many times.

Dan was drinking adagio’s White Peony, apparently only available in America, at $2 for a sample tin.



  1. Great review. I too love the little reusable tins that Adagio packs its teas in, though, as you note, when they are full they tend to explode like a pinata. This is annoying.

    Best fix is to grab a plastic grocery bag, and put the tin inside it. Reach into the bag and open the tin there. The tea leaves will still pop out of the can, but they can be easily scooped up and put back in the tin.

    • I found that opening it halfway on one side and then turning it around to prise the lid off slowly works quite well, too. Hmm, now I’m craving a cup of this rather than the usual evening glass of wine. I might treat myself.

  2. Should that be “one trick peony” (Apologies to Nelly Furtado)?

    • Apologies to Kid Carpet, actually.

  3. I’m going to pretend you mean Nelly Furtado.

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