Lazy morning. I’ve already rolled over and gone back to sleep twice. So lazy I’m totally uninterested in turning on, tuning in, and dropping out into the world of tea. But the Verdant Yunnan White Jasmine leers at me suggestively from its shipping box, one of the few remaining unopened samples.
I settle for a western brew, putting on the kettle and the Beatles’ Revolver. Opening the packet, I’m overwhelmed by the gorgeous white needles and the fantastic scent. There are even a few jasmine blossoms hanging around. Verdant recommends a teaspoon per cup. I’m not sure how one measures a teaspoon with a leaf that’s a good inch-and-a-half long, so I settle for enough to cover the bottom of my cup and a tiny bit more. Steep time is two agonizing minutes, during which I bury my face in the amazing scent coming off the brewing vessel.
Pouring the tea off into my mug, a few needles slip in. As I watch, they attach themselves to the bottom of the cup and loll around, upright and waving like kelp or fauna at the bottom of a jasmine-scented ocean. Apparently I signed up for the psychedelic experience. I rush for my phone and snap a shot of this, concerned nobody will ever believe me. Two needles break free of the surly bonds of gravity and dance about, still upright, mid-beverage. This tea ain’t right.
Undeterred by the possessed leaves, I take my first sip. Banana and hints of jasmine. I certainly wouldn’t go for a banana tea on purpose, but it’s not offensive. It just is. Clean, light, perfect for this summer morning where it’s already 97 (36) outside. The strange tea disappears down my gullet and is quickly replaced with a second steep. The banana becomes smoother and less pronounced; the jasmine becomes clearer but not overpowering. The needles do not repeat their pageantry. But with a giggle, they release a hint of cinnamon they’d been secreting away for this occasion.
Do we dare try for a third? Yes. Yes we do. Here the flavor profile gets interesting. I’m sure now I must have dropped acid and not realized it. Maybe the jasmine blossoms were laced with it. In the mouth, it’s clean jasmine. The finish seamlessly transforms from banana to cinnamon to pine to a lingering green apple.
All in all, good even with the banana notes. I’m excited to see what else this one will reveal with different brewing styles.