While doing some routine cleaning this weekend, I decided to take stock of my tea hoard. Initially, my plan was to organize everything by type, but that quickly fell apart. While I failed to accomplish my goal, I did make an important discovery. I have considerably more green teas left over from 2016 than I thought. All of them were still sealed, so I doubted I had to worry about any of them being stale, but I decided that it would be best to check one to see if it was worth drinking at this point. After some deliberation, I selected the 25 gram sample pouch of this tea and got on with it.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 180 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted intriguing scents of chestnut, damp grass, hay, and sorghum. After the rinse, I detected emerging aromas of hazelnut, lemon, grain, and corn husk. The first infusion produced a layered bouquet with superb integration of the previously listed scents, though I did catch touches of lime, smoke, and malt in the background this time. In the mouth, notes of chestnut, hazelnut, grain, grass, hay, citrus, corn husk, and sorghum were significantly stronger than anticipated. Subsequent infusions better brought out the maltiness and smokiness while also introducing minerals, orange rind, beechnut, sour plum, and raw spinach to the mix. The later impressions were dominated by minerals, malt, nuts, grass, and citrus, though oddly enough, impressions of buttered greens (kale and leaf lettuce) pushed through at the last minute.
Well, this tea was still viable. That much should be obvious. It probably mellowed a tad since I purchased it, but it still had a tremendous amount of life to it. It was also surprisingly good. Actually, scratch that. It was more or less excellent, even at this point in time. I’m definitely glad I chose to end my weekend with this tea.
Flavors: Chestnut, Corn Husk, Grain, Grass, Hay, Hazelnut, Kale, Lemon, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Nuts, Orange, Plums, Smoke, Spinach