I’m skipping the queue with this one, because I want to show the GTT team that I am actually gratefully writing and drinking the things they shared with me. Sort of like a proof that I’m keeping my end of the bargain, even if the other two samples will likely wind up in the posting queue and turn up in due course. I just didn’t want to have the first post wait that long. The oldest posts in the queue at the moment are from May, you see. (I haven’t been adding to it nearly every day though, so it’s not as long as one might fear.)
Shortly before I went on holiday, I received an email from Green Terrace Teas, inviting me to try a few samples from them and writing about them. This put me in a bit of a dilemma, because you may recall that I have this box on my desk of things I haven’t yet tried and the goal for 2014 is to empty it. Completely. So empty that you could turn it upside down and nothing would fall out. As a consequence I am strictly prohibited from adding to said box.
But if they’re offering to give me stuff which I didn’t ask for first… Then technically I’m not the one adding to the box. So that must be okay, right? I mean, I can’t be held responsible for other people’s actions, right? So I said yes please and chose three things. Well, actually I chose two things and dithered on the third to the point of saying ‘surprise me’. I chose the two black teas (of course) and also wanted to try an oolong, but I haven’t had much experience at all with these green type oolongs in recent years, so apart from a couple that I was already familiar with, I didn’t even know where to begin. Hence, ‘surprise me.’
Now, this particular tea is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most.
Both the steeped tea and the dry leaf have a strong note of something which is very hard for me to place. It’s sweet and malty, but I’m not sure I would say it was necessarily honey. Maybe a very concentrated honey note, but I’m leaning more towards honey with something else. It’s the something else I’m having trouble with. The malty note is quite strong though and it’s only enhanced further by the honey note. As it cools to a sippable temperature, the honey note develops further, gradually making it stronger than the malty note. At this point the something else is also developing a bit, and I’m starting to think berries. A fairly tart sort of berry, possibly dried. Black currants and/or blackberry are the first things that come to mind. Perhaps also a little bit of plum, but I’m uncertain about that one.
The tea itself is surprisingly strong. It’s not strong in the overleafed or oversteeped way, it’s just a naturally strong tea by it self. The first and foremost note that I notice is something sort of wood-y, like how a dark oolong can be quite wood-y in flavour. Not the dark sort of oaky wood that black tea can have but something a bit lighter and sharper. I have a specific type of wood in mind that it makes me think of, but unfortunately I don’t know what kind of tree that’s from… It’s a light wood with a sort of pinkish-golden colour and the wood grain is very well defined. Anyway, it tastes to me like wood that looks like that. (Bring on the synesthesia. Why can’t I have this phenomenon in a normal way?). As a result this whole tea kind of tastes like that pinkish-golden colour, complete with wood grain and everything.
Along with the weird wood note, I’m also getting a strong note of honey. It’s amazingly sweet this and the honey notes is very clear. A little spicy and hay-y too, which reminds me of Yunnan teas, especially the sort.
These naturally occurring notes (rather than flavourings) are always rather subjective, so I was uncertain about how much honey I would actually find in it, but I’m very attracted to things to do with honey. I’ve had supposedly peach-y teas before and not found even a whiff of stone fruits, so I tend to take that sort of thing with a grain of salt. This one, however, definitely delivers. There is a bit of astringency on the swallow, but the aftertaste is all honey.
If bees drank tea, they would drink this.