This tea sample was given to me by Rie from Tealet. Thanks! This tea is mentioned on their website as being a green or a white depending on your point of view, as it undergoes a non-standard processing developed by the locals at the Hariyali Cooperative. My curiosity leads me to wonder if it’ll brew like a hybrid of the two or if it’ll seem more like one than the other. I’m going to play it safe with a slightly cooler brewing temperature as I would for green tea.
I feel I should mention these leaves’ appearance, as they are very thin, delicate, and twisted and many are covered in white fur. They seem very similar to bi luo chun. I did the rare deed of reading the company’s description before trying this tea. I try not to so I have an open mind and blank palate, but I’m mentioning this to say that my first impression of the aroma, from the dry leaves sitting in the warm gaiwan, is of creamed corn, which is a note they mentioned in their description and I really agree with it. I also smell a bit of moss and underbrush underscoring the scent . The wet leaf aroma is very vegetal and green beany like a typical Chinese green tea, with some really nice sweet grassy notes atop it all.
The flavor of this green tea is mild and sweet on the first infusion, a sweet corn on the cob or corn husk note is most evident. There is just the slightest wisp of smokiness in the finish. The second infusion of this tastes like taking a bite out of a fresh green vegetable, almost like cucumber or zucchini. It has that dewy note that cucumbers or even honeydew melon has.
Brewing this gongfu style, I am having a little trouble not overbrewing it. Maybe I used too much leaf, or maybe this tea is just naturally quite potent, but it keeps edging on bitterness, and I have to add a little more water to bring it to normal. After doing that, the bitterness is very mild and only comes in the finish, so I think this is just a tea that takes some finesse to brew. Holding similarities to bi luo chun I could see that being the case since that tea is quite tricky to brew due to its delicate nature.
The third infusion of this tea has a more generic green tea flavor and is tasting a bit muddled in comparison to the first two, but in my experience with gongfu brewing greens, you’re lucky if you make it to three or 4 infusions with a really nice flavor. The taste right now is still somewhat sweet, but the bitterness a bit stronger in the finish. I brewed one more infusion and on the fourth it was sweeter again, with a little astringency and bitterness, and still seeming more diminished in flavor.
If I had tried this tea blind, I’d have told you based on its appearance and taste that it’s a green tea. The white tea notion comes in a bit with the sweetness and corn-like flavor, which reminds me a lot of silver needle white tea from Kenya, but all that said, for the purpose of reviewing and explaining my experience with this tea to help others, I’d say this is much more like a green. It brews more like a green, in that you have to be a bit tender with it or it will coax out bitterness, whereas I don’t often find this to be the case with white teas.
I really liked this tea. The first two infusions had really great flavor, and the sweetness and a peppery note are both lingering in my mouth several minutes after drinking it. I’m curious to see how this tea will turn out from another harvest and if the processing changes or becomes any more refined. So far, so good.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Cucumber, Honeydew, Sweet, Vegetal