Thursday, September 10, 2009
Just on opening the bag, my stomach started to hurt, it knows I will need food to accomplish a full session of this tea. The dry leaves look as dark as they smell, and the smell reminds me of a wood charcoal.
It has the characteristic smell that the high fire, traditional roast, classic roast teas have, yet probably the reason this one is in the every day category, it lacks depth, and smells rather acidic. But the white mist is forming over the tea in the cup, which is something I've associated with making a good cup. Though I do want to say the smell reminds me of Cherries Jubilee.
This tea actually really concerns me, Its smell is the best part, and that is not even that great. The finish is ashy and acidic, while the taste is bitter like bad dark chocolate.
On a good note, this tea is incredibly hard to make worse... as on the second steep I got sidetracked in thought, and found myself with an extra long steep. Though I think cooler water might have been a bit of the saving grace on that.
So I have a tiny porcelain jar which I got on ebay. I like it as decoration, but I'm using it as a tea aging testing ground. I put 60-70 grams of tea into it, as much as it holds, and I will visit it in the future to see if aging might help this tea. Seeing as the amount of tea I put in there I figure it would probably be best not to touch it for 4-5 years.
In short this tea did not impress, and in fact I think its a tea that even when brewed by experts will fail to impress.
So What good can come out of this tea? This tea at its price will be great for getting your brewing skills in order, though as its rather lenient it will also serve as a tasting exercise trying to dial this tea in to where it tastes best and get that experience consistently. Or if you are willing to try an aging experiment, and don't want to take the chance with small quantities, you can buy a large amount of this for a lot less cash than a more premium tea. Secretly I think this tea will come alive after many years. I can not explain why other than I think the acidic and char will diminish, and the aging will round out the flavor more.