Oh, hello, and good day to you. Where do I start?
First a warning: do not listen to music while gongfu steeping this tea. Or do. Please do.
Second, a related anecdote. Working in some remote habitats doing often mindless hand-weeding, we had our share of field confessions. One of the stories that left the biggest impression upon me was a foreman’s stint working for the county medical examiner’s office. He found himself in this surreal moment, cruising across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Oakland on a sunny day in his work van with an unfortunate soul in the back, when on the radio this song came on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cXrEPNvRO8 There’s something special about crossing the various Bay Area bridges when there is no traffic. Time slows and the views always instantly take my mind places while a well of gratitude springs forth. This is how I felt drinking this tea. Transported into a surreality of life, death, soulful, uplifting happiness and deep, grounding gratitude.
The tea you ask? Okay. What-Cha provided a moving story about the origin of this tea. Did it influence my experience? I like to think not but I am human and no longer a research scientist with a flawlessly analytical mindset ;P
The dry leaf has that pungent dry desert earth smell I also found in the Rohini Bai Cha. That Darjeeling, spicy and pungent herbal musk. This is a Nepalese musk. Underneath are baby powder florals, cassia and chocolate. The warmed leaf transforms into spinach, cassia, cream, almonds with their skin. A hint of menthol? Rinsing brings forth cooked corn with the spinach, more cream, stronger white florals and umami.
The tea starts with a very pale liquor indicating the delicacy of the forthcoming aromas and tastes. Scents of baby powder and sweet lemon with an umami undertone transform into something much stronger and sweeter, more vegetal but never feeling like I’m eating a plate of cooked spinach. The tastes are very complex and also at first delicate with umami, sweet lemon, thyme, very light spinach and barely perceptible menthol. A lingering aromatic aftertaste of lemon chiffon presents. Salivation after sipping the first cup. Subsequent steeps bring forward a medium body with fantastic aroma in the mouth. Floral almond, light spinach, more sweet lemon and umami. A light bittersweetness in the back and an effervescent salivation. Thyme and other herbs in the aftertaste with that lemon chiffon.
Third steep has me revelling in this tea’s complexity. I note additions of green bell pepper and dill. The aftertaste has moved to a light apricot cream. WIth the fourth steep, the aroma becomes even deeper and stronger with a kind of sweetness that hits high and deep. Bottom of the cup aroma is a very sweet sugarcane, almond and cherry blossom.
And here is where I get caught up in the music and moment. A series of oversteeps, 3 of them, each several minutes long. The first one is bitter! but with an incredible sweet almond cookie taste. The second is less bitter, pleasantly astringent, still flavorful and aromatic in the mouth. The third brings out a strong buttery aftertaste. I get several more shorter steeps in, bringing the total to 9 with still tasty results, making me think if I were more mindful of the tea than my inner state, this tea would have a great longevity.
Overall, I’m really looking forward to the rest of this bag and sad that no more is available. Very aromatic and flavorful, high quality tea, kind on the stomach. Delicate and fleeting, moving to something more substantial and complex. I can smell and taste the grafting of spirit and tea, Japan with Nepal. I greatly appreciate the moving story that accompanies this tea. It’s an experience.
Edit: Note #400.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Celery, Cherry Blossom, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cookie, Cream, Dill, Earth, Floral, Green Bell Peppers, Herbs, Lemon, Menthol, Meringue, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Popcorn, Spicy, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thyme, Umami, Vegetal