Shhhh! Don’t tell on me!
I went out my front door and there was a small box sitting by the step. What’s this? I picked up the box and read the name. No way! Impossible! It can’t already be here. I casually walked into the kitchen, not drawing attention to myself, and opened the box. It is! It is! It is my Christmas present tea! Surely I can try JUST ONE. After all, I did ask for tea, I did place the order myself, and no one has any idea how much I ordered and from where.
After an agonizing three or four seconds of mental battle and rationalization, I carefully opened this one. The kids don’t know new tea is here because I controlled myself and didn’t do my SQUEEE dance.
Since this is a brand new company to me and most of us, I will go into a little more detail on packaging and such. First, the box is nice and sturdy, and obviously shipping was fast for me to be surprised that it is here already. Inside the box is a lovely handwritten note, a receipt, and a little brown paper to keep the tins from moving around. The tins are in pristine condition and are very attractive. You would have to involve an elephant to damage the packaging.
Opening the lid on the tin I find a layer of very thin aluminum foil to keep the tea fresher. Hugo Tea is presently changing their packaging, but if you order before the change is complete, be sure you keep that little circle of foil. It makes the lid nice and tight. Initially i didn’t put it back and when I reopened the tin I noticed that the lid came off a little too easily (unlike a few companies whose lids make me weep and I spill as much of the leaf as I get to drink because of obstinate lids) and though in normal circumstances it would be just fine, when is life really normal? People drop things, bump into shelves, etc, and if this tin fell it would almost certainly spill. Keep your foil, or put in a new piece.
Dry leaf: deep army green and somewhat twisty. Nice and full. Aroma is root vegetables like turnips or mustard greens.
Steeped: Nice medium gold color, fragrant, again of root vegetables but a wee bit milder now. First steep is root vegetable with a slight dryness and tingling to the tongue, the sort of green I serve mainly with food. Aftertaste is lingering, lots of staying power. I think of this as a tea that awakens you.
Second steep: similar to the first, but with a soft caress. Flavor remains much the same, but some of the root vegetable edge is smoothed out so there is a sense of a lighter, slightly buttered vegetable.
Mixing the two steeps together, I do not feel that I have something half way between the two, but rather that the first steep has brought the second up to full strength. This makes me think I should shoot for a third steep in a little while. There may be a fourth in here as well!