This was another tea I forgot I had. I acquired it at some point within the last year, rediscovered it while organizing my stash, and just had to crack it open and try it. I finished the last of it this afternoon while doing a little light house cleaning. I’m normally a big fan of African teas, especially some of those coming out of Malawi these days, but this one was not quite my thing. To be clear, it was in no way a bad tea, it just was not what I normally tend to go for in a green tea.
I prepared this one gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 167 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, I detected interesting aromas of butter, straw, toasted rice, and soybean with delicate undertones of sorghum molasses. After the rinse, I ended up getting stronger aromas of toasted rice and butter, as well as emerging scents of collard greens and fresh spinach underscored by hints of seaweed. The first infusion produced a slightly stronger seaweed aroma and also revealed a subtle scent of cut grass. In the mouth, the liquor offered delicate, smooth notes of butter and grass on the entry followed by hints of soybean, collard greens, toasted rice, and seaweed. A touch of straw and a subtle sweetness emerged on the finish. Subsequent infusions brought out the seaweed, soybean, toasted rice, straw, and collard green notes in the mouth, and naturally, the spinach also started to make its mark on the palate. I found emerging impressions of minerals, tart cherry, orange zest, and malt accompanied by backing impressions of sorghum molasses, smoke, and honey. The later infusions offered lingering notes of butter, minerals, and grass balanced by fleeting hints of soybean, collard greens, and seaweed.
This was an odd and rather challenging tea. All of its flavor components were mellow and well-integrated, making it somewhat difficult to determine what was going on in a number of places. It also did not change a ton from start to finish. Still, I must emphasize the uniqueness of this tea. It offered a mix of aromas and flavors one simply does not find all that often. Furthermore, it displayed very respectable longevity, holding up throughout a rather lengthy session. As mentioned above, this was the sort of green tea I do not tend to go for all that often, but I’m glad I took the opportunity to try it and most certainly appreciated what it had to offer.
Flavors: Butter, Cherry, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Seaweed, Smoke, Soybean, Spinach, Straw, Toasted Rice, Vegetal