Posted by: dan | August 19, 2009

waltzing oolong (part 3)


Dan: Well, it seems my position on oolongs is slowly being reversed. After the previous two oolongs I tried, my opinion has shifted from one of disgust to pleasant curiosity. With this in mind I’m looking forward to trying the third oolong in this series. I’m not certain which one I’m going to choose yet, but I shall shortly be heading downstairs to find one. I’m hoping for a good one to continue the improving trend – maybe I can like oolongs yet!

Okay, I’m back and I’ve only gone and chosen the bloody jasmine one, haven’t I? I don’t like jasmine! Why did I choose it?

Because it’s a big test and I said I would drink it, so drink it I shall. Adagio’s Jasmine #12 is actually some more jasmine pearls. I have had some of Adagio’s jasmine before but it was a green tea and they weren’t wrapped up in tiny balls. I didn’t get on well with it. But the comments I received were helpfu, and bearing them in mind I made the tea.

Jasmine bullets of pure tea

Jasmine bullets of pure tea

There were two main things to keep in mind with jasmine: you need a short brewing time and not too many pearls. As I was making only one cup of this (I’m not mad – if I don’t like the first cup I’m not likely to return for another) I only used 10 pearls. It seemed about right, as they’re actually quite small. The tin advises an infusing time of 5 minutes so I did 4. If there’s any chance of me liking this it’s going to be through a lot of effort to ensure the bare minimum of flavour. It’s supposed to be light and refreshing so that’s what I’m aiming for.

The leaves as they start infusing and unfurling

The leaves as they start infusing and unfurling

Watching the tiny balls unfurl is still one of the great joys of tea-making. They practically fling themselves open, leaving medium-sized starbursts of tea leaves swimming around the infuser before settling at the bottom. After 4 minutes (and not a second more) were up I poured the tea from the pot to the cup. It’s very pale – hopefully indicative of a milder flavour. So here I am about to take the first sip – emergency chocolate digestives in reach – and I’ve made a decision. If I don’t like it, I’m never drinking any kind of jasmine tea again.


Oh, I forgot to mention the smell. It’s very powerful and you’ll notice it from about 10 feet away. Fortunately this tea doesn’t have quite the edge to it that I noticed with the other jasmines. It’s much more subtle, and sweeter without being too floral. The bitter undertones have gone leaving a rather delicate aroma.

Alright, enough teasing and suspense – on to the taste!

A pearly white tea

A pearly white tea

It’s quite nice. I think I got the balance about right with the amount of leaves and time to infuse. It could have been slightly more or left to brew a little longer and it would have had a slightly more ‘solid’ flavour but I like it as it is. Somewhat wispy and very light. It’s pleasant and there’s nothing to get offended by. No assault on the senses and no rough bitterness to contrast with its delicacy.

The only thing I will note here is that this doesn’t really have any oolong trademarks. There’s none of that green/black taste divide that was present in the previous oolongs I’ve tried. It just seems more like a white or green tea than anything else. Perhaps it’s because I kept it weak but it just doesn’t seem to be that ‘oolong-y’ to me.

The jasmine is all there is to it and it’s still not a flavour I’m particularly enamoured with. While my threat of never drinking another jasmine won’t be put into action It’s still not a tea I’m ever going to get excited about or reach for when I fancy a cuppa. It’s just not me – I need something more substantial. Now where are those biscuits?

Dan was drinking Adagio’s Jasmine #12, available at $5 for a sample tin or ¬£14.99 for 140g.



  1. Come on, lads. You’ll have to try some “real” Oolongs like Wuyi or Oriental Beauty. They’re not going to be these floral scents like Jasmine which could very well be feminine. They’re going to tend more toward the masculine.

    • I’ve been drinking a lovely smoky Quilan supplied by Lahloo which is probably as masculine as you can get. I’m certain we’ve got some Wuyi somewhere – we’ll have to get onto that one.

      Can we be bullied into reviews? Absolutely!

    • I shall root around my supply for MANLY oolongs. I think I’ve only got aromatic things at the moment. Sorry – I will do a MANLY review as soon as I can.

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