Are we at the point where there are too many high-end, farm to cup tea purveyors? It’s very easy to be seduced by the burgeoning websites touting personal relationships with family farms in China or Estates in India. How much variety is too much? How often is the Chinese black tea from X an upgrade from the one you’ve been enjoying for a while? Maybe the answer is a resounding, “Variety is the spice of life!” But it’s a question I ask myself as I find fewer and fewer of my forays into the offerings of new (to me) sellers end up replacing the teas I’ve come to love and drink regularly.
Now, this is not meant as a criticism of Joseph Wesley’s teas which I’m trying for the first time. I really enjoyed his high end Qimen (not reviewed yet) and this Bai Lin is certainly pleasant. But is the Qimen better than the ones I’ve had from Upton, a place I’ve been ordering from for years and from whom I can order a whole variety of excellent teas? Hard to say. When I go to the store, I can choose between 20 different kinds of olive oil or yogurt but the myriad of choices just makes me anxious (or maybe it’s just the fluorescent lighting).
Anyway, back to this tea, which I’m finding hard to categorize. It’s not as chocolatey as its nose suggests it will be; it’s actually more vegetal and grainy. I think I went too heavy on the leaf the first time—when I used less, I had a better result.