So, it is November, the month that aspiring writers use to practice their novel skills with the awesome event that is NaNoWriMo. I have debated doing it a few times, tried it twice and did not do so well, see for all of my love of writing (having written hundreds of pages of research, not to mention almost 700 blog posts) I am absolutely awful at telling stories. I just can never get my brain to work that way, I end up turning the stories I am writing into overly detailed research rambles. Well, on twitter the other day, the infamous Lazy Literatus mentioned the brilliant idea of NaNoTeaMo, a tea blog for every day in November…and you know what, I am going to give that a try! Wish me luck, I am notoriously bad at blogging everyday, but it is something I really want to do, and if I succeed maybe I will buy myself a special tea or a new cup or something. (Not that I need any more teaware, such a hoarder.)
Remember the other day I did the back to back comparison of Oriental Beauty from Sanne Tea? Well that same farmer also made a Taiwanese Green Tea, Mr. Chen is all about organic farming, having earned the very strict Tse-Xin Organic Mark after switching to Organic farming. He decided to switch to this after seeing a fellow tea farmer passed out after breathing in too many pesticides, he took the man to a local hospital and essentially saved his life…I can certainly see how something like that would put the fear of pesticides in a person! Of course making the switch was hard, but once the balance of predator, beneficial insects, and plants was established the trees flourished. Fascinating stuff, I always enjoy learning about the farmers behind the tea I drink, just like I love learning the tea’s history. This tea has a bunch of fun info about it, like a lot, a whole blog in of itself, so if you have the time I recommend giving it a read, especially if you like learning about the history of a specific kind of tea.
Ok, now on to the actual tea itself! The leaves are pretty cool, big fluffy things that could pass for a Bao Zhong if it felt like infiltrating the Oolong clubs (I imagine tea has a very interesting life, clearly) the color ranges from deep pine forest green to bright new growth green, quite the verdant rainbow. The aroma is not very strong, faint notes of vegetal and tea leaf, life fresh off the bush green tea leaves. It has a freshness about it, very much so a green aroma, even though it is not very intense.
After the steeping of the leaves, the aroma is stronger, as does frequently happen (not sure I have ever run into a tea that has a weaker aroma after brewing, that would be weird) the notes are buttery and nutty, much like tahini and a touch like peanuts. Alongside these notes is a sharp vegetal note reminiscent of artichoke and a bit of bamboo leaves. The liquid is sweet and buttery, a little floral, and a bit like honey, it is mild and refreshing.
First steeping time, the mouthfeel is very smooth, bordering ever so slightly on buttery, but not quite there. The taste is also really smooth, not a single harsh note about this steep, starting out with gentle sweetness of chestnut and moving to the most delicate touch of distant flowers. It is ghostlike, you can tell there are flowers, but they are too far away to put a correct name to. The finish is sweet with a gentle spice to it like nutmeg and a lingering bamboo leaf aftertaste, giving that bit of green.
Second steep, the aroma is mild and refreshing, a gentle honey and distant floral note and a touch of butteriness. This steep starts out mild and gently sweet, notes of chestnut at the start and moving to buttery green, like gently sauteed spinach and bamboo shoots. It is a very mild tea, but because of its mildness it has a refreshing quality, reminding me of a palate cleansing drink after a strong food.
Third steep was very similar to the previous two, I found that this tea did not change much during the steeping, just maintained the gentle presence and refreshing nature. I will say one thing, this was a very clean tasting tea, it reminds me of that clean breeze on a spring day that brings in distant flowers and the promise of an evening rain.