The description of this tea by Zhi Tea intrigued me enough that I was forced to order a sample. Forced! ‘Ancient Forest’ sounds so mysterious and mystical, doesn’t it? On top of that, this organic tea is from Vietnam; I can’t ever remember having a Vietnamese tea. The setup is for something truly exciting and magical.
Upon sticking my nose in the bag, the dry leaf reminds me right away of a keemun with a dark-forest-like scent and a hint of smoke. The wet leaf and liquor scents similarly don’t diverge much from a typical keemun. This rich amber brew tastes very average. It’s medium bodied, but unfortunately not all that flavorful. Some of the tastes that are typical with a keemun, seem a little washed out. I’ve brewed several small pots with differing tea to water ratios and have gotten the same results each time. The flavors are lacking. It doesn’t have much pop to it, and to be frank, is kind of a bore to drink. There is a slight caramel-note to it, but it’s slight. There is some astringency and the aftertaste leaves a peppery-note on the tip of the tongue. So much for the magic.
While this tea has a good story and comes from a unique locale, it is really just something middle-of-the-road. It’s drinkable, yet totally uninteresting and unmagical. And after the big build-up, I’m left feeling somewhat let-down.