98

I can hold myself back no longer. I have to try this tea. I’m going to use Auggy’s time and temperature settings and see if I get rye bread to form in my cup.

The leaves, as has been said, are unbelievably, almost freakishly, long. I just had to take a ruler to them. Here’s the measurements on a random sample of 3 leaves. Understand that this is from end to end, and they twist and curve like climbing rose vines, so their actual length is longer.

1. 1.75 inches
2. 1.5 inches
3. 1.75 inches

They’re basically rake-able length leaves. Imagine that. Or maybe don’t. Wouldn’t want anyone inadvertantly to induce a catatonic state while contemplating such pure tea rapture.

They are a very dark green. Like a few shades closer to black than olive drab, and intensified. There are some amazing, silvery buds in there. The leaves have a patina that gives an impression of softness. Really gorgeous. A+ for the look of the dry leaves.

Their smell is toasty, roasty, nutty, green (!), fruity, sweet and there is even a coffee-like note in there. Fragrant, complex, deep. A+ for the smell of the dry leaves.

I’m steeping them in the Breville for 4 minutes at 205. It’s like watching grass grow. I can’t wait! It occurs to me that I may not have put in enough leaf. The Breville comes with its own scoop, which it suggests you use. However, the scoop doesn’t really accomodate leaves that are almost 2 inches long. So there was a lot of white space in there. I’ve decided that if I don’t get a terrific result this time I’m going to call a do over and use a scale measure instead before proceeding. I don’t want to short change this tea.

And the verdict is, I’m not sure. The liquor is very light in color, rather oolongy. I’m thinking that’s not how it’s supposed to be. So I’m going to do it over and make sure I use 3g per serving on the scale. Here goes.

Fascinating. I used 6g for 500ml this time. And I still get a liquor about the same color. This is the yellowest, most un-black-tea-colored black tea I’ve ever brewed! It’s not what I would describe as “crystalline amber” but it does reach amber, on the lighter end of the scale. Do I give it an F in liquor color for not being an example of its class, or an A+ for being different and interesting and true to its description? Pass for now.

The aroma is like the smell of the dry leaves writ small, plus it opens up to give a preview of what one might expect in the taste. I totally get the rye bread! I don’t know if I could have identified it that specifically on my own, but I get the unsweetened bready, grainy aroma (which could also be the barley identified in the description), and right at the beginning there’s a dry, almost sharp note that is very reminiscent of rye. And yet, there’s a fresh, almost green smell as well as a lovely, soft, sweetness around the edges. And gosh, I still get something roasty that’s a little like coffee. A+ for aroma.

Light bodied, but deep flavored. Smooth, but slightly astringent. There’s a complexity that is suprising given the body of this tea. I usually associate complexity with full body, but that association has just been defenestrated.

There’s a sweet, bready, flavor and a dark, black tea taste that sneaks up on you to remind you what this is, just when you thought you were drinking something else. A sweet, coffee-like aftertaste.

Random wet leaf measurement: 2.5 inches! Wow!

I haven’t ever given a perfect score and I’m not sure I’m ready to. But this is definitely an A+ of a tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

If you really wanna be tea geek, you could take a string and follow the curves of the leaves then measure the string length.:)

TeaEqualsBliss

LOVE this stuff!

Auggy

Yay Makai Black! Seriously unlike any other black tea I’ve had. So good! Ack! Now I want some!

Rabs

Wow — fantastic note on many levels!

LynnP

Where can I get this?? I went to teahawaii.com but there’s nothing on the site except for a few photos of a tea garden and an email address. Is this correct? Do I need to email them for ordering info? Please someone tell me where I can find this, I’d love to try it. Thanks!

__Morgana__

Yep, send them email. They told me they’re in the middle of setting up the ability to order online but when I ordered I did it by sending them a list of what I wanted and a check.

Cofftea

How do you know what they have Morgana?

LynnP

Hmmm… a little old school but this tea sounds fantastic. I’ll shoot them an email… thanks!

__Morgana__

Cofftea, I wrote to them to tell them I’d like to order this, and asked about pricing. They wrote back and told me and also said they had an oolong and a white available and gave me some info about those as well. They’re pretty responsive, I’d just email them any questions you have.

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Comments

Cofftea

If you really wanna be tea geek, you could take a string and follow the curves of the leaves then measure the string length.:)

TeaEqualsBliss

LOVE this stuff!

Auggy

Yay Makai Black! Seriously unlike any other black tea I’ve had. So good! Ack! Now I want some!

Rabs

Wow — fantastic note on many levels!

LynnP

Where can I get this?? I went to teahawaii.com but there’s nothing on the site except for a few photos of a tea garden and an email address. Is this correct? Do I need to email them for ordering info? Please someone tell me where I can find this, I’d love to try it. Thanks!

__Morgana__

Yep, send them email. They told me they’re in the middle of setting up the ability to order online but when I ordered I did it by sending them a list of what I wanted and a check.

Cofftea

How do you know what they have Morgana?

LynnP

Hmmm… a little old school but this tea sounds fantastic. I’ll shoot them an email… thanks!

__Morgana__

Cofftea, I wrote to them to tell them I’d like to order this, and asked about pricing. They wrote back and told me and also said they had an oolong and a white available and gave me some info about those as well. They’re pretty responsive, I’d just email them any questions you have.

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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