Thank you to Geoffrey and Verdant for this new Laoshan White sample!
Most of the time, tea is an experience to share with a friend or a time to reflect on scenes from my life. The places I’ve been and the sweetness of life that I sometimes have forgotten about.
Like a magic key, drinking tea unlocks those special memories in a mystical way that I accept as just being the way things are. I can’t explain it.
When I received this sample, I was so pleased. The packet looked stranger than any White tea I had seen before. Green, green little tightly curled rings of tea that looked like thin noodles. I think I chuckled with delight.
This morning I began with a small glass pot, spring water, 1.5tsp tea. 30-35 sec. steep at 175f 6oz water and will record here 3 steepings. (It could go to 5) The liquor was pale yellow green, then golden and finally pale yellow. (I drink from a small sipping bowl)
My experience with this Laoshan White had a place in mind.
I was immediately taken visually somewhere familiar in my life. I lived in Northern California. My father was from Napa, my mother born in a logging camp. Being close to the Monterey Coast and the bounty of fruits and vegetables…with the fog cooling the fields of lettuce, beans, squash, grapes, artichokes, berries…you feel that life inside you. For some reason, the picture of the fields, and the fog rolling in as it did every afternoon was in my mind as I drank this tea.
My first sip had an immediate startling impact. Wow! Wow! “What is this?”, I spoke aloud.
There was a sizzle, a sparkle and instantly a coolness. I thought about the vegetable flavor that was present and could not figure it out. There were no notes on this tea yet to help me. Thinking of the freshest vegetables on the Coast with a delicate flavor and sweet skin…I thought of yellow summer squash. Sliced at an angle and cooked al dente
in unsalted butter…creamy but the sweet tender flavor intact. Juicy, fresh.
I was left with the feeling that I had finished a good meal. Lingering flavor and rich mouth-feel.
The smell of the wet leaves were strong! Meaty! I wanted to eat them!
This bowl was sweeter and more floral and like the fog it was a vapor cool in my mouth…drifting by. There was a slight bitterness and less of a vegital taste. I was moving so fast like tea speed dating. I Paused……
When I slowed down, I was able to notice heat on my tongue and an aftertaste that was good…but I couldn’t tell what it was. Somewhere in this second steep I was meandering…wandering and got lost. Maybe the tea was in transition. Maybe I was.
The wet leaves had fully opened up to a vibrant green. They smelled delicious.
The sip from my bowl was exciting! My mouth lit up, fully awake and tingling. There were wild clover flowers, sweet juice on a carpet of cream. “This was where the tea was taking me…and this is a fine place to be,” I said. The lingering taste of the tea is outstanding. For the longest time you taste the flavor. You want more and more. The tea is addictive.
At that point, I realized I had consumed 18oz. of the finest White Tea in short order and was feeling the effects. What is called a “Centerdness” among other things, a little tea buzz. Really nice!
This is a curious review for me. I have no background in White Tea, no guidelines, no instructors. I know what I like. The experience of where this tea took me…to a place where my children and I picked berries, where I bought artichokes off the farm. Where I worked with migrant children years ago on the farms. This vision with the tea was special.